Cishek shows improvement in LA outing

Cishek shows improvement in LA outing

LOS ANGELES -- It's been a return to form for Steve Cishek.

The 26-year-old right-hander is once again creating uncomfortable at-bats for opposing hitters. On Friday night, for instance, Cishek threw more like he did a year ago, when he took over the Marlins' closer role after the All-Star break.

With his rangy, unorthodox delivery, Cishek offers deception and gets his share of awkward swings.

That was the case in his perfect ninth inning Friday, when he struck out two in Miami's 5-4 win against the Dodgers.

The difference between Friday and earlier outings is that Cishek had success keeping the ball down. He's had his share of struggles, posting a 1-3 record with a 4.50 ERA entering Sunday's series finale in Los Angeles. He has given up 12 hits -- two homers -- in 14 innings, walking five and striking out 16.

He is five for six in save chances, after blowing his first opportunity.

"I've been leaving the ball up, and that's when I got in trouble back at home," he said. "I'm just trying to throw everything hard at the knees, and whatever happens, happens. I've really been focusing on that in my throwing program."

Because right-handed hitters are batting .143 against Cishek, he is seeing his share of lefty batters, who are hitting .281 off him.

"I think, early on, he had a few struggles with lefties," manager Mike Redmond said. "He also wasn't in a lot of save situations. We were pitching him in tie games and maybe a little out of his role. But at the same time, too, he's given up some hits and home runs.

"But he's been working hard. He's been aggressive with his fastball and locating his pitches better to lefties. He's done a nice job of making adjustments."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter