Jeff Smith noon, March 8
Cashner rights ship as Padres roll over Diamondbacks
The offense pounded out 10 runs on 12 hits and Andrew Cashner was effective as the San Diego Padres evened the series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Andrew Cashner has slowly drifted away from trying to blow everyone away with his blazing fastball and is concentrating more on changing speeds and commanding his pitches. This strategy leads to victories like the one on Saturday evening at Chase Field when the Padres beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 10-4.
Except for a couple of mistakes that included a change-up to Eric Chavez that got too much of the plate – belted for a two-run home run in the first inning – and a couple of other change-ups in the third inning that led to two more runs, Cashner had his stuff working for him. It helped that team offense was prolific and team defense was as steady as it has been for most of the season.
“Today was a hard game,” said manager Buddy Black. “Their guy came out firing and they jumped on Cash[ner] with the quick two-pointer. Andrew pitched better than the pitching line. He pounded the strike zone, you look at the ball-strike ratio and it was great. When we needed him to hold the fort, he did in the middle part of the game. We scored the five runs and he had a five-pitch inning right behind that.”
Much as the Diamondbacks did to the Padres on Friday, the Padres returned the favor on Saturday. In the fourth inning with two outs, the Padres scored five runs to go with the two they had scored in the third on Everth Cabrera’s two-run home run.
Shortstop Everth Cabrera continues to develop into what could be one of the best in the league at his position. Aside from his normally stellar defense, Everth went 3 for 5 with 4 runs batted in and stole his 19th base.
“The thing that we’re impressed with, his coaches and his teammates, is the calm focus,” Black said of Cabrera. “He’s locked in both offensively and defensively and you can see it in his play. He’s playing loose, yet inspired. He’s playing with a high degree of energy. There’s a rhythm to his game.”
Kyle Blanks and Nick Hundley also pitched in with two hits each. Cashner went six innings to get the win and the bullpen was entirely effective behind him, with Joe Thatcher, Luke Gregerson, and Tyson Ross throwing one inning each of shutout ball.
If this is truly the type of baseball that the Padres are capable of, then they’ll have to play this way more consistently in order to reach the .500 plateau. If the club can close that gap, then approaching the ability to be competitive in the division race wouldn’t be out of the question. Until that happens, they remain 4 1/2 games back and nothing more than an honorable mention for National League West division accolades.
Cameron Maybin is now with the AAA Tucson Padres club, rehabbing his wrist injury. Maybin went 1 for 2 with a walk on Saturday. Yasmani Grandal continues to play into shape as well, going 3 for 5 in that game with a double against the Sacramento River Cats.
The rubber match between the Padres and the Diamondbacks will conclude on Sunday. Jason Marquis (6-2, 3.27) will go for the Padres and the Diamondbacks will offer Patrick Corbin (7-0, 1.44). Game time is at 1:10 PM PDST, on radio 1090 AM and televised on Fox Sports San Diego.