The prospective ace for the 2014 season took control during the month of September posting a 2-1 record with a 0.76 ERA and 21 strikeouts. All three of Andrew Cashner’s starts in September went at least seven innings and included seven strikeouts each. The most dominating performance came on September 16th against the Pittsburgh Pirates when Cashner pitched a complete game shutout while allowing only one hit. Cashner’s lone loss came against the Dodgers due to an unearned run that proved to be the deciding factor in the rubber match of a three game series. We should expect more gems from Cashner in 2014 because he can blow away hitters with an upper 90s fastball, and he is beginning to exhibit superb control.
Cashner’s 2013 campaign was a departure from control issues in the past. As a rookie with the Cubs in 2010, he gave up 30 walks in 54.1 innings of work as a relief pitcher. Cashner was traded to the Padres in January of 2012 after being hurt for most of the 2011 season. 2012 marked an improvement in Cashner’s control, he gave up 19 walks and struck out 52 batters in 46.1 innings. In 2013, Cashner showed what he can do when he is healthy and in control of his pitches. In 26 starts, Cashner went 10-9 with a 3.09 ERA and 128 strikeouts, and his total walks per nine innings dropped to a career best 2.4. It should not be a surprise that when Cashner was at his most successful in September, he allowed only one free pass in 23.2 innings.
Another source of Cashner’s success was noted in Victor Wang’s column about Cashner’s near perfect performance against the Pirates. He began using his slider more compared to his previous start against Pittsburgh. When a lethal slider was combined with a scorching fastball and pinpoint control, Cashner nearly threw a perfect game. Let’s hope Cashner unlocked the secret to pitching because the glimpse of dominance we saw in September was part of a 16-11 run by the Padres to finish the season. A stellar ace can provide the consistency and confidence the Padres need to win games and compete in the NL West.