Pitcher Andrew Cashner and catcher Rene Rivera would be compared to Batman and Robin, if only the Caped Crusader could throw a slider or the Boy Wonder could call for it low and away.
They have become a veritable dynamic duo for the Padres, keeping America’s Finest Gotham City safe from villainous threats like Miggy the Tiger and The Puig.
Dating back to last season, Cashner has thrown 10 straight quality starts (six-plus innings pitched with three or less earned runs). Rivera has been behind the plate for every one of those.
“His game-calling ability is incredible,” Cashner says of his battery mate. “We have a good relationship and friendship. And it translates to the game. If I’m struggling, he’s out there yelling at me.”
His last time out, Cashner mowed down 14 straight Detroit Tigers to start the game before allowing a single. That was the only hit the Tigers mustered all night against the burly right-hander.
For the only organization without a no-hitter, the 11-strikeout, two-walk outing was talked about as perhaps the most dominant pitching performance in Padres history. It was the second time during the current QS streak that Cashner has allowed just one hit. But still, it wasn’t a no-no.
"It's one of my goals. I definitely want a no-hitter," Cashner said.
Rivera is confident his pitcher will have more opportunities to put up all zeroes.
“I know he can do it,” Rivera said. “He’s the kind of guy who works hard and is competitive. He was Cashner (on Friday).”
Cashner looks to extend that streak tonight as the Padres take on the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park.
On a team carrying three catchers on the roster, Rivera seems to have found a niche that will get him in the lineup at least every few days, despite hitting just .154 on the season.
The Padres are 4-1 when he starts behind the plate, having allowed just nine runs in those five starts. He caught the Padres’ other win over the Tigers this weekend, a Tyson Ross start that won them the series over the defending AL Central champs.
Cashner credits Rivera’s “stick pitching ability” – the way he can make a pitch look good even if it’s not. He also points to his own maturation, knowing what he can and can’t do.
“For me, it’s not so much velocity anymore as it is movement,” Cashner explains “I can throw 90 and do more things with it. The biggest thing is to throw strikes. Eliminate walks.”
Rivera is happy to be along for the ride as Cashner’s dominance over the league continues.
“It’s great that people see what he can do on a daily basis,“ he said of the Padres ace. “Hopefully it continues. He has the stuff to do it.”