Although Andrew Cashner has the stuff of a top-of-the-rotation starter, the results have told a different story throughout a forgettable season for the San Diego Padres.
The right-hander will try to avoid taking over the major league lead in losses Wednesday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Cashner (5-15, 4.27 ERA) appears to have the repertoire to thrive at the big league level with an upper-90s fastball and a devastating sinker while mixing in a slider and change-up.
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However, his lack of command of those pitches, along with some insufficient run support, have led to a disappointing fourth season in San Diego. He's walked nine in 10 2-3 innings over his last two starts and has received three runs or less from the offense in 20 of his last 25.
Cashner fell to 1-5 with a 5.04 ERA over his last nine outings on Friday after he allowed five runs, nine hits and five walks over 4 2-3 innings in a 9-1 loss at San Francisco.
"Cash was lights out in terms of the way the ball was coming out, 98 miles an hour," interim manager Pat Murphy told MLB's official website. "He had two quick outs a few times and nobody in scoring position, and then walked a guy."
Cashner hopes to avoid becoming the first 16-game loser in the majors and only the second San Diego pitcher to drop that many since 2001. Eric Stults went 8-17 last season.
After going 0-5 with a 2.83 ERA while getting six runs of support over a six-start stretch versus Arizona (69-76), the 29-year-old allowed two runs over seven innings of a 7-2 home win June 27. He's struck out 26 while walking only three in four meetings this season.
A.J. Pollock and Aaron Hill have homered off Cashner this season. Jake Lamb is 4 for 9 with a home run lifetime in the matchup, while Paul Goldschmidt is 7 for 20 with a homer.
Pollock is hitting .184 over his last 11 games but came through with a three-run homer in the seventh inning to key Tuesday's 6-4 win. Goldschmidt went hitless with three walks, leaving him with a .216 average over his past 28.
Robbie Ray (4-11, 3.54) also has struggled with his command, walking 29 over 51 2-3 innings in his last 10 starts. He ended a personal seven-game losing streak Friday when he gave up two hits over five scoreless in a 12-4 home win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"A weight is lifted off your shoulders," Ray said after getting a season-high run total.
After posting a 1.72 ERA over his last three starts, Ray will try to help Arizona wrap up a nine-game homestand with a winning record. He's 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in two starts this season against the Padres (68-78).
Derek Norris has homered off the left-hander, but he did not play Tuesday after getting hit on the top of his right hand by a foul ball in the opener. X-rays were negative.
Justin Upton, who is 0 for 6 with four strikeouts versus Ray, went 3 for 4 with his 26th home run Tuesday. He's hitting .330 with eight homers in 27 career games versus Arizona.