3 Down: Why Andrew Cashner Should NOT Start On Opening Day


Just about a week ago, my fellow writer here at Friars On Base, Mark Whelan, went to great lengths to explain in his half of “3 Up/3 Down” as to why the San Diego Padres should start Andrew Cashner on Opening Day, 2015 against the rivals from up north, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Today, it’s my turn, and I’m going to explain why not only is Mark wrong in his assertions that Andrew Cashner is the ace of the Padres, but why he shouldn’t be starting on Opening Day. I’m also going to explain why the Padres’ true ace, Tyson Ross, should get the nod from Bud Black

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It’s all fine and dandy that Cashner is a fierce competitor and craves winning. Hell, I crave lots of things too, but it doesn’t put me in a position to do as I please. Baseball, just like any other sport, is a “What have you done for me lately?” world. Cashner’s days as the leader of this starting rotation are O-V-E-R. It’s easy to post an ERA under three as a starter when you ONLY pitch in 19 games.

It’s also been pointed out that he’s been there before. Again, doesn’t mean a damn thing to me. Should the New York Yankees roll ol’ worthless C.C. Sabathia out to the bump on Opening Day just because he’s done it many times over? Absolutely not. Cashner has to prove to the Padres that he can walk out to the mound every fifth day without injuring himself before he earns that opportunity again. Want to talk about him being there before, April was his third-worst month of his 2014 season. Not that he had bad numbers, he didn’t, but his strikeouts per nine on the road were one full K less per start in 2014 than it was at home, and it wasn’t that impressive at 6.2 per. When a team is on the road, against arguably the biggest division rival, one of two roadblocks between you and the postseason, when you need that big strikeout, Cashner isn’t what he once was.

Sure, Tyson Ross’ K/9 dipped a full strikeout less as well, but you’re talking from 9.5 to 8.4–a far cry from striking out a hitter every other inning like Cashner does now. It also seemed like Tyson Ross would have a really good month, then a so-so month throughout the season. But by the end of the year, he was clearly the #1 in San Diego, and had he received ANY run support during the year, instead of 13 wins and 14 losses, he’s more than likely staring a 20-win season right in the face.

Need more proof? When the Padres of 2014 scored two or less runs in Ross’ 31 starts, he was 1-12. That’s right. 12 of his 14 losses, the man had little to no run support. He damn near had to toss a shutout every time he took the mound for a chance to win. And yeah, he like Cashner, has a very nice ERA of 2.81, but it wasn’t in a dozen and a half starts like former #1 Cashner. Ross missed the final week of the season because of his workload. The Padres didn’t want to risk long-term injury to their new-found stud, and instead, chose to sit him and let him rest and be ready for spring training. He was within 4 1/3 innings and 5 strikeouts away from joining teammate Ian Kennedy, as the first duo in Padres’ history, to record a season of 200 innings pitched and 200 K’s. Has Andrew Cashner ever done that? Nope. Andrew Cashner hasn’t even come close.

In 106 plate appearances pitched against the Dodgers in 2014, Ross held the Boys in Blue to a .226 batting average. Cashner in 73 plate appearances? .260. Forget the win/loss records. They are more indicative of how poor the Padres’ offense was for both pitchers than it is a testament to their respective pitching abilities. The final nail in Cashner’s coffin against the Dodgers? An ace should be expected to go the distance, especially against a big time rival like the Dodgers. In a day and age where complete games are almost non-existent, you guessed it, Tyson Ross when the distance…well, okay, for the record, it was an 8-inning complete game loss, 2-1 on August 21st. Wasn’t Andrew Cashner on the disabled list not once but twice during the season?

I would make the argument that given Tyson Ross’ break-out season in 2014, coupled with the solid season put forth by Ian Kennedy, along with last night’s signing of James Shields, along with Andrew Cashner’s inability to remain healthy, that he shouldn’t even be considered in the front three of that rotation during the first month of the 2015 season. Don’t get me wrong, Cashner has all the ability in the world to be an ace, a Cy Young-caliber hurler–WHEN HE’s HEALTHY! The Padres have spent to much talent and too much money to put their season on the shoulder’s of a broken down, once promising hurler. Andrew Cashner is not an old man by any means at 28-years old, but if I’m A.J. Preller, and the difference between getting Cole Hamels and not, is throwing Andrew Cashner and what’s left of the farm system into a deal, it would’ve been done yesterday! That ladies and gentlemen, is why Tyson Ross has earned the Opening Day start for the San Diego Padres at Chavez Ravine on April 6th.

Next: Possible Deal Involving Andrew Cashner?

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