Cashner deserves better than record shows
Lack of run support, shaky defense at root of righty's 1-6 mark despite 3.07 ERA
Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.
Andrew Cashner is in a vicious cycle that tarnished the first month of his season. When he pitches well, he doesn't get any runs. When Cashner gets runs, the defense fails him.
Although Cashner gave up two more homers on Sunday vs. the D-backs at Chase Field, he allowed only two earned runs. He has allowed two or fewer earned runs in five of his seven starts.
But Sunday marked the fourth straight game in which Cashner started that the Padres scored two or fewer runs. And the right-hander has been tagged with a Major League-leading 10 unearned runs this season.
Sunday's 2-1 loss to Arizona in the finale of a four-game series cost San Diego a chance to score only its second series win in a four-game series at Chase Field. All that is why Cashner is 1-6 after seven starts -- despite a 3.07 ERA -- continuing a slump that is more than a season long.
Last year, Cashner was 5-7 despite a 2.55 ERA, marking the first time since 1988 -- and the first time in Padres history -- that a pitcher had a winning percentage of .417 or lower with an ERA of 2.55 or lower.
Since the start of the 2014 season, Cashner is 6-13 despite a 2.69 ERA. Since he joined San Diego in 2012, Cashner is 19-26 with a 3.06 ERA.
The Padres are averaging 4.6 runs per game this season. But they are averaging exactly half that in games that Cashner has started.
Cashner hasn't always been sharp this year. The two solo homers he allowed Sunday raised his home run allowed total for the season to eight. Cashner has allowed at least one home run in each of his past four starts. And homers have accounted for nine of the total 25 runs allowed by Cashner.
From the scorebook
• Will Venable was 6-for-12 with a triple, a home run, two RBIs, three runs scored, three walks and a stolen base in the three games he started in center field in Arizona. That's a slugging percentage of .833 and an on-base percentage of .600 since he moved to center, which was precipitated by Wil Myers moving to first following Yonder Alonso going on the 15-day disabled list with a bone bruise of his right scapula.
• Right fielder Matt Kemp didn't start Sunday for the first time this season, although he grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. Kemp is in a 3-for-30 slump that has dropped his average from .327 to .275, although he still has three RBIs during the drought.
• Third baseman Will Middlebrooks hasn't started the past five games, and he has only one hit in his past 28 at-bats while going 2-for-33 since April 22. His batting average has plunged from .258 to .189 in that span.
• Right-handed reliever Brandon Maurer has made five straight scoreless appearances, covering 5 2/3 innings. He has allowed two hits and a walk during the run.