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Tam Hoang 8:30 a.m., Aug. 25
The good news is that the Padres have had 20 hits in the last two games. The bad news is that the Padres have inconsistently had 20 hits in the last two games, what with 17 on Tuesday and only three on Wednesday.
More good news is that Jedd Gyorko hit his first major league home run, and Jedd had no trouble taking ownership of that ball since it’s a tradition that any fan catching a home run at Wrigley Field from the opposing team throws the ball back onto the field. Heck, even Chase Headley hit one out on Wednesday.
More bad news is that the Padres lost to the Cubs, 6-2. This ensures that the Padres can do no better than to split the four-game series with a team in the Cubs that was considered to be inferior because it is in the process of rebuilding.
Padres starter Andrew Cashner had a forgettable day, his 96 pitches spanning only four innings. Cash gave up 5 runs (4 earned) on six hits and four walks, including a wild pitch and an errant pick-off throw.
For the Cubs, Scott Feldman was made to look brilliant. Two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out 12 Padres hitters. Feldman had never completed an entire game before Tuesday.
Back to Cashner, some hardcore Padres fans insist that he’s a solid reliever and has no business attempting to be a starter. Tuesday’s game is likely more evidence that Cash should continue to try and become a starting pitcher. Here’s why:
Tuesday, he had a complete lack of command of his fastball. That’s the last thing you want to see in a pitcher coming in with runners on base. You can get away with it at times when you start, but not when you relieve.
Cashner has a stellar fastball, breaking 100 MPH when he wants to throw that hard. And his change-up is his best secondary pitch, while his breaking stuff is a work in progress. But if you can’t command your fastball then your secondary pitches are meaningless, because the fastball sets up the secondary pitches in cases like Andrew Cashner.
Want a prediction? Cash will recover, he’ll be fine, and he has every opportunity and the talent necessary to become a number one starter in the big leagues. And probably, more than likely, he’ll approach that goal shortly. Meanwhile, Cash will have days like he had on Wednesday.
And the Padres in general, will continue to have days like they had on Wednesday. They have yet to become a consistent ball club. But they are trying, and playing, and learning.
Robbie Erin pitched an inning of relief on Tuesday, giving up no runs, and was rewarded by being sent down to AAA Tucson. Brad Boxberger is now with the big club again. Brad pitched last season, appearing in 24 games, holding opponents to a .222 average against him.
Thursday, the Padres play the Cubs again in the afternoon, and the temperature has dropped drastically and the wind is blowing in stiffly. Eric Stults (2-2, 5.67) will go for the Padres against Travis Wood (2-1, 2.25) for the Cubs in a battle of left-handers. Game time is at 11:20 AM PDST, 1090 AM on radio and Fox Sports San Diego on television.