Why Alex Cora Believes Andrew Cashner Is More Effective In Bullpen

by abournenesn

Aug 16, 2019

Andrew Cashner’s tenure with the Boston Red Sox did not exactly get off to the best of starts.

Boston acquired the right-handed pitcher from the Baltimore Orioles in mid-July to become the team’s No. 5 starter for the stretch run, but that didn’t last all that long.

Cashner was moved to the bullpen after going 1-4 with an 8.01 ERA as a starter with his new club. But in two relief appearances, Cashner has allowed just one base runner, struck out three and recorded his first career save, leading some to jokingly tab him as the team’s new closer.

But Alex Cora is confident in Cashner’s stuff out of the pen, and has a theory on why the righty might find more success there.

“It wasn’t about his stuff. He’ll still throw 95, 96, the action of the split or the changeup wasn’t great, the slider wasn’t good. He was just getting hit hard with the long ball,” Cora said on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni and Fauria” on Friday. “I think in the bullpen he is more aggressive. He understands that you don’t have to set hitters up, you don’t have to go six innings. You just throw that fastball at 96 or 97. The offspeed pitches, you don’t have to be precise with them. The pressure of the game will dictate sometimes what the hitter is going to do. It’s a 2-0 count to Roberto Perez, he wants to win the game, (Cashner) throws three sliders in a row and he swings and miss.

“I know he has had a long career, but his stuff in the bullpen, you never know,” Cora added. “He throws hard and he doesn’t shy away from the strike zone. But now, he’s throwing the fastball to the edge, that changeup to the edge he’s getting swings and misses.”

It’s just two innings, but it certainly does show signs of improvement.

Cashner season looked like it may have been a lost cause, but he has a chance to turn that around if he continues to look good in the bullpen as the Red Sox head down the stretch with their backs against the wall.

Thumbnail photo via Gregory J. Fisher/USA TODAY Sports Images
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