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Nine days of rest turn into rust for Cashner

Making his Sox debut, veteran allows 6 runs over 5-plus frames
@IanMBrowne
July 17, 2019

BOSTON -- Just 10 days earlier, Andrew Cashner had shoved against the Blue Jays, giving up just three hits and one run over seven innings. The problem for Cashner in his rematch against Toronto on Tuesday night -- which was also his debut with the Red Sox -- is that

BOSTON -- Just 10 days earlier, Andrew Cashner had shoved against the Blue Jays, giving up just three hits and one run over seven innings.

The problem for Cashner in his rematch against Toronto on Tuesday night -- which was also his debut with the Red Sox -- is that he hadn't pitched since then.

Rest turned into rust and Cashner's first chapter with Boston, a 10-4 loss to the 36-60 Blue Jays, is one he'd like to forget.

Box score

"I think they made some adjustments, but also I had a long layoff, so I felt like I was more rusty than anything," said Cashner. "I felt like I didn't have command of my fastball like I normally do."

The veteran righty, who was acquired from the Orioles on Saturday to bring stability to the fifth spot in Boston's rotation, was rocked for eight hits, six runs (five earned) and two homers over five-plus innings.

The homers were the most damaging to Cashner.

The first was a three-run shot by Teoscar Hernández in the second inning, just after red-hot Xander Bogaerts had staked the Sox to a 1-0 lead in the first with a towering solo shot that soared onto Lansdowne Street. It was a changeup in the lower, middle portion of the strike zone and Hernandez was waiting for it.

"I just saw tonight that I'm hitting eighth, and that gave me the chance to see the way he pitched against my teammates, the righties," Hernandez said. "I was seeing that he was throwing a lot of changeups when he was behind the count -- he was using it a lot to righties. So I was looking for it in that at-bat, that count and he threw one over middle and I put a good swing on it."

The second homer Cashner surrendered was even more painful. Boston had come roaring back with three runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 4. Then came the first pitch in the top of the sixth inning, a 76.4-mph curveball by Cashner that Justin Smoak roped over the wall in right-center, putting Toronto back in front for good.

"I don't think I was very sharp, didn't really command my offspeed very well, didn't really do a lot of things well, but I feel like I kept us in the game," Cashner said. "It wasn't very good -- especially after we scored the runs to tie the game back up, and to give up a leadoff home run, that's probably the toughest blow of the game."

It was a tough way for Cashner to see his recent surge come to an end. In his final five starts for the Orioles, he went 3-1 with a 1.41 ERA, going six or seven innings each time out while allowing two earned runs or less.

Cashner will be in more familiar surroundings when he makes his next start on Sunday afternoon at Camden Yards against the team that just traded him to Boston.

"I feel like I was more rusty," said Cashner. "I was out of my routine. I'm looking forward to getting back to my routine this week."

Getting settled in Boston is something Cashner looks forward to, particularly because he comes over from the last-place Orioles.

"It's great," said Cashner. "The fans have been great to me so far since I've been here. It's a great hitting team. If you can keep the game close, you've got a chance every night."

Troubling trends

The loss dropped the Sox 10 games back of the Yankees in the American League East and three behind in the AL Wild Card standings. One of the reasons manager Alex Cora's team has underachieved this season is due to not performing better against the Blue Jays.

The Red Sox are just 8-6 against Toronto, while giving up 88 runs and 25 homers in the 14 games. Cora said that it's time for his pitchers to put a stop to that, beginning on Wednesday when Eduardo Rodriguez takes the ball.

"Guys who aren't having great years are putting good at-bats against us," said Cora. "You look at the numbers and it's surprising. Seems like we don't execute, and when we don't, they take advantage of it. It's kind of like we have to make adjustments with them. It's something that has to start tomorrow, because the at-bats are great since Day 1."

Another trend that has continued is Boston's spotty play at home. The hope was that Fenway would again be friendly to the Red Sox on this homestand, but the defending champs are 2-3 thus far. Boston is 22-23 at Fenway, and 22-25 at home, including the two losses to the Yankees in London.

Then there is the most annoying trend at all -- Boston's inability to maintain momentum. Just prior to the All-Star break, it seemed the Sox had finally found their groove, winning five out of six. Then they took the first game after the break against the Dodgers. Since then, the Sox have lost three out of four.

"I mean, you can't go on a roll if you win one, lose one, win one, lose one," said Bogaerts. "I think we all are aware of that, but it seems to not happen as of yet. Still got a couple of more games to go, and I think we should take it the same way we did closing out the first half."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.