Red Sox

Andrew Cashner on his unimpressive Red Sox debut: "I was just more rusty and out of my routine"

Andrew Cashner on his unimpressive Red Sox debut: "I was just more rusty and out of my routine"

Andrew Cashner's Red Sox debut was no thing of beauty.

The burly (6-6, 235), bearded right-hander, acquired in a trade Saturday from the last-place Orioles, had beaten this same Toronto Blue Jays team in his last start for Baltimore on July 6.

Perhaps, he said after the game, that was the problem. 

It had been 10 days between starts because of the All-Star break and he said it threw his routine off.

“I was just more rusty and was out of my routine,” Cashner told reporters in the Fenway Park clubhouse after he went 5-plus innings and allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits, including two home runs that gave up Red Sox leads, in a 10-4 loss. “I’m looking forward to getting back in the routine next week. I felt like they did make an adjustment on me. That’s what good teams do.”

While it may be difficult to categorize the Jays (36-60) as a good team, they did take the newest Sox starter deep at key times. 

After Xander Bogaerts had given the Sox a first-inning lead with his 21st homer, Cashner gave that lead back and more when he allowed a three-run blast by Teoscar Hernandez to center in the second.

After the Sox had rallied to tie it a 4 in the fifth, Justin Smoak led off the sixth with a solo shot over the bullpens in right.

His manager was quick to point out the trend.

"We didn’t keep the ball in the ballpark, and that’s very important," Alex Cora told reporters. "The changeup to Teoscar, he got to it. Then the breaking ball to Smoak after we came back. He made some adjustments, but the changeup wasn’t as effective as before." 

Cashner called the Smoak shot "probably the toughest blow of the game."

"I didn’t think I was very sharp," said the pitcher who went 9-3 with a 3.53 ERA for a 28-win Oriole team (Baltimore has won 11 of his starts). "I didn’t really command my off-speed very well. I didn’t really do a lot of things well, but I felt like I kept us in the game. It wasn’t very good."

The positive for Cashner, the Fenway fans and his new teammates' ability to swing the bats.

"It’s great," he said. "The fans have been great to me so far since I’ve been here. This is a great hitting team. I feel like if you keep the game close you’ve got a chance every night."

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Christian Vazquez hits first career grand slam, 20th home run of 2019

Christian Vazquez hits first career grand slam, 20th home run of 2019

Christian Vazquez's career year at the plate continued Sunday, hitting his first career grand slam against the Phillies. 

It was also the 20th home run of the year for the fifth-year catcher, blowing away his former career-high in home runs (five in 2017).

Vazquez holds career highs in virtually every offensive category, which has earned him the regular starting job behind the plate as opposed to sharing time with Sandy Leon. 

His resurgence has also helped the Red Sox maintain an elite level of production offensively from last year's dominant World Series run.  Unfortunately subpar pitching will keep the team from returning to the playoffs, but if Vazquez can build off this season there's no reason to believe this lineup can't continue into 2020.

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Alex Cora: Eduardo Rodriguez has been "throwing like an ace" all season

Alex Cora: Eduardo Rodriguez has been "throwing like an ace" all season

After another superb outing against the Phillies Saturday night, Eduardo Rodriguez earned high praise from his manager Alex Cora. 

"He’s throwing like an ace," Cora said on NESN postgame. "We’re very happy with the progress. The fact that it’s Sept. 14, 15, and he’s as strong as early in the season. That’s good to see.”

Rodriguez didn't secure his 18th win of the year thanks to a seventh-inning walk with the bases loaded, but that doesn't take away from a 12-strikeout performance.

Rodriguez now has a 3.64 ERA in over 185 innings pitched. The Sox need Rodriguez to come into his own if they hope to stay in contention long term, and he continues to show progress toward reaching his potential. 

Rodriguez still has a chance to get to 20 wins, but he'll have to win each of the three starts he has left in 2019. 

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