Tag Archive | "Andrew Cashner"

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Pitching Superb as Cubs Rally for 2-1 Walk-Off Win on Ron Santo Day – Wrigley Field West Mesa Arizona 3/10/11

Posted on 10 March 2011 by Lou

Although the hitting was non-existent, you have to be thrilled with the Cubs pitching in Thursday’s 2-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Ron Santo day.

Randy Wells started it all off with 4 scoreless innings.  Wells struck out 2 and gave up just 1 hit and 1 walk during his outing.  Wells has yet to give up a run this spring and it looks like the fact that Wells knew he had to compete for a starting spot in the rotation has brought out the best in the righty.  His 0.00 ERA is tops among Cubs starters this spring.

Kerry Wood struck out the side in his 1 inning of work.  He gave up just 1 hit and lowered his ERA to 4.50.

Andrew Cashner had his best outing of the spring and worked 4 solid innings.  He did give up the Indians lone run on a solo home run, but he struck out 3 and walked only 1 and seemed to have a ton of confidence out there.  I would love to see Cashner keep up a few more outings like this to knock Silva out of the 5th starting spot.  The Cubs really need to find some other club to take Silva off their hands before the start of the season.  Even if the Cubs have to eat half of his salary, it’s time to give a youngster a shot in the rotation.

The Cubs managed just 4 hits on the day, but they made them count.  James Adduci singled to lead off the 9th inning and eventually scored the winning run on Brett Jackson’s 2-out walk-off single.  In the 8th inning, Marquez Smith doubled and came around to score on a wild pitch and throwing error by the Indians catcher.  Guess you gotta do what you gotta do to win…

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Wells, Marshall Sharp; Wood, Cashner Not So Much – Cubs 3, Brewers 5 Wrigley Field West, Mesa Arizona 3/1/11

Posted on 01 March 2011 by Lou

Some ups and downs for the Cubs pitching in the Cubs 5-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday afternoon in Mesa.

Randy Wells looked very sharp in his spring training debut.  Wells worked 2 scoreless innings giving up just 2 hits and striking out 1.

Andrew Cashner, on the other hand, struggled in his 1st appearance.  Cashner is competing for a slot in the starting rotation but didn’t do too much to help his cause.  Cashner made it through 2 innings, but he gave up 2 ER on 3 hits and 1 walk.  He did not strike anybody out.

Sean Marshall picked up right where he left off in 2010.  Marshall worked a perfect 9th inning striking out 1 in the process.

Kerry Wood returned to the Cubs pitching mound but had an inauspicious inning of work.  Wood gave up 2 ER on 3 hits, but he did have 2 K’s.

Not bad, but not great.  The Cubs also committed 3 errors for the 2nd straight cactus league start.  This can’t sit well with Mike Quade, but I’m sure he’ll take it in stride this early in spring training.  If the Cubs keep making errors like this, however, look for Quade to make some noise next week…

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James Russell, Andrew Cashner to be in Mix for Starting Rotation Spot — Wrigley Field 1/15/11

Posted on 15 January 2011 by Lou

Manager Mike Quade and the Cubs have confirmed that both Andrew Cashner and James Russell will be given a chance to compete for a 2011 starting spot in the rotation this spring.

James Russell started for the Cubs in the minor leagues in 2007 and 2008.  In 2009, the Cubs converted Russell to a reliever and he made 57 appearances for the Cubs out of the bullpen in 2010.  Russell finished the season with an ERA just under 5.00.  The advantage for Russell is that the Cubs starting rotation is right-handed heavy and the bullpen could be left-handed heavy if John Grabow proves to be healthy.  Sean Marshall is a lock in the bullpen and Scott Maine could serve as a 3rd lefty in 2011.  It’s unclear if the Cubs would go with 4 lefties out of the ‘pen.

Andrew Cashner started exclusively in the minor leagues for the Cubs.  He got the call up to the big leagues in 2010 and he made all of his 53 appearances in relief.  Although he posted an overall ERA of 4.80, he did finish strong with a 1.40 ERA during his final 18 games in 2010.  Cashner said that better control of his fastball down the stretch allowed him to be more effective at the end of the season.

The Cubs are locked into at least 3 starters — Matt Garza, Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster.  Randy Wells and Carlos Silva appear to be locks too, but who knows, the Cubs may be willing to part with Silva and eat some of his salary in order to let a guy like Tom Gorzelanny, Jeff Samardzija (who doesn’t have any options left), Cashner or Russell to get some more experience as a starter.  We’ll keep you posted as soon as anything else develops…

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Cubs Acquire Garza, But Give Up Prospects Galore to Make it Happen — Wrigley Field 1/7/11

Posted on 07 January 2011 by Lou

Will this move be a sort of “redemption” for GM Jim Hendry, or will it ultimately cost him his job?  Hendry and the Cubs have 2 years to figure it all out.

The Cubs and Rays have agreed upon a trade that will send ace Matt Garza from the Rays to the Cubs.  Garza has emerged as a legitimate major league pitcher and he put an exclamation point on his 2010 numbers with a no-hitter back on July 26th – the 1st in Rays’ history.  During the 2010 MLB schedule, Garza went 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA and 1.25 WHIP.  He is only 27 years old and he has never had an ERA over 4.00 — that in the power hitting AL East with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays.  He has started at least 30 games each of the last 3 seasons and he does not free agency for another 3 years — that means a nice competitive salary for a top of the line starter.  He will likely earn a raise from his 2010 $3.35 million salary.

The Cubs did have to give up several top prospects, but as we know with prospects – even can’t miss ones (see Mark Prior) — you just never really know.

Starter Chris Archer was the key to this deal.  He is only 22 years old and he was the Cubs best minor league pitcher in 2010 — 15-3 record with a 2.34 ERA in 28 games at the Single-A and Double-A levels.

Outfielder Brandon Guyer was the Cubs top position player in the minor leagues in 2010.  He had a .344 batting average with 13 HR’s and 58 RBI’s for Double-A Tennessee and is only 24 years old.

Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee had a promising season at Single-A Peoria – .282 batting average with 32 stolen bases.  But let’s face it, Starlin Castro is going to be playing shortstop for the Cubs for years and years to come, so unless Castro was willing to move over to 3rd base to make room for Lee, Lee was going to have to be dealt or switch positions in order to get to the big leagues.

The Rays also got Sam Fuld who is your prototypical reserve outfielder at the major league level.  And Catcher Robinson Chirinos has had success at both the Double-A (.318 batting average, 15 HR’s and 64 RBI’s) and Triple-A (.364 batting average, 3 HR’s and 10 RBI’s) levels in 2010.

Given the salary constraints the Hendry has placed on the Cubs pocketbooks for the foreseeable future (at least 2 more seasons, and even then, the Cubs will still owe Alfonso Soriano 1 more year of salary during the 2013 MLB season), this was a nice little move for the Cubs.  As we know, anything can happen with “top prospects”.  Sure Castro, Colvin and Cashner look like major league fixtures for the foreseeable, but at least for the Cubs, that seems more like the exception to the rule to have a top prospect be successful at the major league level during the Hendry regime.  The Cubs have been better of late making good draft selections and developing those players within the minor league system, so even though they have traded away a few potentially “nice pieces” they should be able to “re-stock” those pieces if they have been doing their job the right way.

The addition of Garza gives the Cubs a nice duo at the type, assuming Carlos Zambrano has his head on straight in 2011.  Ryan Dempster is a nice #3 and if Randy Wells can bounce back from a disappointing sophomore slump, you have a nice 4-man rotation going.  Carlos Silva, Tom Gorzelanny or Andrew Cashner would round out the 5th spot in the rotation.  Assuming Gorzelanny and Cashner are healthy and look good in the spring, that could also give the Cubs a little flexibility in moving a Silva or Zambrano (even if it means eating some of their salary) to replenish the farm system a little.  A deal with the New York Yankees who still don’t know if Andy Pettitte is going to return for 2011 or retire seems like a perfect fit for a move like that.  Only time will tell if this is the move that saves Hendry’s career…

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Cubs Falling Out of Contention in Pursuit of Brandon Webb – Wrigley Field 12/21/10

Posted on 21 December 2010 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs appear to be falling out of the race for starter Brandon Webb.  Webb has pitched a total of just 4 innings combined during the 2009 and 2010 MLB seasons because of shoulder injuries.  But it appears that Webb  is healthy again and he is receiving strong interest from the Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals.  The Rangers have strong interest because they lost out in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes.  The Nationals have strong interest because they will be without stud Stephen Strasburg for all of 2010 because of his Tommy John surgery.  Any deal would most likely be incentive-laden because of his past arm injuries, but he is an intriguing starter in an otherwise “weak” starters market this winter.

We’ll keep you posted if the Cubs make a strong move down the stretch here.  Given the Cubs signing of Kerry Wood which will allow them to move Andrew Cashner back into a starting role for 2011, their need for another starter is not as urgent.  But I guess you can never have too many starters, especially if Webb is really healthy and if he only gets paid a hefty sum if he earns it with positive production on the mound…

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Cubs Bring Back Fan Favorite Kerry Wood to North Side – Wrigley Field 12/16/10

Posted on 16 December 2010 by Lou

It looks like Kerry Wood will be ending his career with the team that he started with – the Chicago Cubs.  Wood wanted to end his career in Chicago as he and his wife have decided to make Chicago their permanent home.  The Cubs have tentatively agreed to a 1-year, $1.5 million deal.  There are still performance and award bonuses to be worked out, but assuming he passes his physical, Wood will be in a Cubs uniform in 2011 and hopefully beyond until he decides to retire.

This is GREAT news for the Cubs.  After the Ryne Sandberg fallout, it’s great to see that the Cubs are willing to work with past stars.  Plus, because of the low dollar amount on the deal, the Cubs should still be able to add another reliever to the fold with their limited budget.  Wood will also serve as a great role model and mentor for young pitchers like Andrew Cashner, James Russell, Scott Maine and Justin Berg.  The move also gives Manager Mike Quade some flexibility in being able to move Cashner to a starting rotation spot if the Cubs do not sign or trade for a starting pitcher this winter.  And if they do sign a new starter, then the Cubs will have a nice deep bullpen with Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, John Grabow, Wood and Cashner.

We’ll keep you posted as soon as this gets finalized in the coming days.

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Could Andrew Cashner Start in 2011? — Wrigley Field 12/14/10

Posted on 14 December 2010 by Lou

Could we see Andrew Cashner as a starter at Wrigley Field during the 2011 MLB schedule?  Andrew Cashner was always a starter until he was drafted by the Cubs and he has pitched as a reliever ever since.  A lot depends on what the Cubs do the rest of the off-season.

GM Jim Hendry keeps saying that the Cubs are in the market for a starting pitcher and they have pursued vigorous trade talks with the Tampa Bay Rays for Matt Garza. If the Cubs landed a player like Garza, then there is very klittle chance that we would see Cashner as a starter.

But now that the best free agent starting pitcher – Cliff Lee – signed with the Philadelphia Phillies instead of the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers, the Yankees and Rangers could make a strong play to try to lure Garza away from the Rays.  That could limit the Cubs chances to snag him, which could open up a spot for Cashner if he has a solid spring.

Also, the Cubs could try to shop Carlos Zambrano around again after his solid end to the 2010 MLB season.  Zambrano has a no trade clause, but the Cubs could try to convince him to waive it to play for a team like the New York Yankees where he could win a World Series now.  Big would also be re-united with the only pitching coach he has ever known – Larry Rothschild – who recently left the Cubs to take the Yankees pitching coach job.

Should be interesting to see how things fall into place now that Lee has signed.  We should start to see all the dominoes fall over the next few weeks…

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Catching up with Cubs Reliever Andrew Cashner – Wrigley Field 11/11/10

Posted on 11 November 2010 by Lou

Andrew Cashner was a pleasant surprise for the Cubs out of the bullpen during the 2010 MLB schedule.  Cashner appeared in 53 games, going 2-6 with 16 holds and 1 blown save.  He had a 4.80 ERA and a 1.56 WHIp, with 50 K’s and 30 walks in 54 1/3 innings.  Cashner started off well, but hit the wall a little bit at the end of July and in early August.  He gave up 6 ER in back-to-back appearances on July 27th and July 30th, and then had a stretch where he gave up 7 total ER in a stretch of 4 out of 5 appearances in the middle of August.  But he rebounded after that – from August 23rd on (which coincided with the Mike Quade regime), Cashner worked in 18 games and gave up just a total of 3 ER in 19 1/3 innings pitched.  He appeared to regain his confidence and he pitched with a sense of purpose in some stressful situations for Quade and the Cubs late in the season.  Let’s hope he can keep it up and improve on the consistency during the off-season so that he is ready and able to lead a successful bullpen reformation during the 2011 MLB season.

Cashner recently had some interesting insight into pitching at the major league level and discussing how he plans to prepare for 2011: “I always thought I had good enough stuff to pitch here.  The biggest surprise to me is all the material you can use here every day.  The biggest thing I’ve learned is how much the hitters make adjustments.  You can face a guy at the beginning of the season in the Minors and get him out, and then face him three months later and he’s still the same guy.  The hitters here are constantly making adjustments.  I see our guys doing it all the time — they’re always working on something. The outs are a little harder to get later in the game… I’ll take some time off this year.  It’s been a really long year.  I’m going to shut it down for three, four weeks.  I have a trainer I work out with and I won’t see him until November 1.  Then, I’ll start five days a week first of November.  The throwing program usually doesn’t start until December.

Cashner will play a large role in how well the Cubs bullpen performs in 2011.  There are a lot of talented, but young arms in their, so it’s imperative that they stay focused and come prepared to pitch in pressure situations each and every day.  If guys like Cashner, Russell and Casey Coleman can continue to make a positive impact, it could be a sign of good things to come for the Cubs in 2011 and the very near future…

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Will Larry Rothschild Decide to Stay on as Cubs Pitching Coach in 2011?

Posted on 09 October 2010 by Lou

Larry Rothschild has only a few days left to decide whether he wants to exercise his option to remain the Cubs pitching coach in 2011.  He must inform the Cubs by Monday if he wants to stay on as Cubs pitching coach for the 2011 MLB season.  The odd thing is, even if he exercises the option, once the Cubs hire a new manager this winter, that new skipper could decided he doesn’t want Rothschild on his staff.

Rothschild’s Cubs pitching staff finished the season with a 4.18 team ERA – good for 13th in the National League.  That was the worst that his team has performed in years given the fact that there were so many rookies making their major league debuts in 2010.  The team had finished in the top 5 in ERA each of the last 3 seasons.  Despite the high ERA, Cubs starting pitchers had the most quality starts in the NL in 2010 with 96. That is a prett high number for a club that won only 75 games.

Despite the good numbers produced over the years by Rothschild, something is wrong there and I think the club would be wise to try to get a new guy in there.  He’s had so many talented pitchers of late — Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano — but he never seems to be able to get a consistent 100% out of any of them.  The Cubs have some talented young pitcher coming up through the ranks – Andrew Cashner, James Russell, Casey Coleman, Jeff Samardzija just to name a few.  It is the perfect time for the “right” pitching coach to take these guys to the next level (just like Leo Mazzoni did with young pitchers like Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Steve Avery back with the Braves in the 1990’s).  If Rothschild doesn’t have what it takes to mold these players into the superstars of the future, then the time to part ways with the guy is now.

Keep your head up high, Larry, because I think you have a friend on your side.  With the way the Ricketts continue to endorse GM Jim Hendry and the “great” job he has done, it doesn’t seem like the new owners are to anxious to make any rash moves right now.  I guess we’ll have to wait 3-5 years and suffer through a few more awful seasons, before they realize they need to make change if they expect to end the longest World Series drought in major league history…

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Dempster, Soriano Pave Way for 2nd Win over Padres in San Diego – Cubs 5, Padres 2- 9/28/10

Posted on 29 September 2010 by Lou

Ryan Dempster finally picked up win #15 with a solid 7-inning effort in Tuesday night’s 5-2 win over the Padres. Dempster scattered 4 hits and 2 walks over his outing, while striking out 9 batters.  His only mistake was a 2-run home run to Nick Hundley that tied the game at 2 in the 5th inning.  Dempster is now 15-11 with a nifty 1.31 WHIP and a nice 3.83 ERA.

Andrew Cashner pitched a perfect 8th inning with 1 K to pick up his 15th hold of the season.

Carlos Marmol tossed a scoreless 9th inning (1 walk, 1 K) and increased his season-best saves number to 36.  You have to love his 1.22 WHIP and amazing 2.62 ERA.

Alfonso Soriano broke the 2-2 tie with a 2-run blast in the 6th inning.  His solo shot in 8th extended the Cubs lead to 3-2.  Marlon Byrd had 2 hits and walks.  Starlin Castro had 2 hits to get his batting average back up over .300, but he also struck out 3 times.

Randy Wells and the Cubs look to send the Padres to their 4th straight loss and even further out of the NL Wild Card race.  Wells is looking to finish the season strong in his last start of 2010.  Wells has won 2 starts in a row, but is just 8-13 overall.

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