Wednesday at 7:11 PM, Edward Cabrera threw the first pitch of his Major League career for a called strike at 97 MPH. One year and 3 days after right hander Sixto Sánchez’s first career start, it was Cabrera’s turn to make his highly anticipated debut. Cabrera, ranked No. 30 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list, had dominated minor league hitters in 61.1 IP. Had it not been for an arm injury in 2020, Cabrera more than likely would have debuted at a similar time as Sanchez. From an organizational standpoint, the hope is that these two can hold top spots in the Marlins rotation for years to come.
On the other side, the Nationals started a top prospect of their own. Ranked No. 54 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list, Josiah Gray made his sixth career start on Wednesday night. He was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Trea Turner and Max Scherzer.
After a 1-2-3 first for both sides, the first base runner for either team came from a Brian Anderson walk in the bottom of the second. Anderson would come around to score on a two-out RBI single by Jorge Alfaro.
Gray settled into a groove from that inning on, keeping the Marlins off the board until the 6th inning, when Brian Anderson led off the frame with a 420 foot home run (106.7 EV).
As for Cabrera, he was excellent through 6. He was able to keep his pitch count low while striking out a couple. He was helped out by double plays in the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings.
Things unraveled for him a bit in the 7th.
Alcides Escobar led off the inning with a walk, then Josh Bell hit a game-tying two-run homer to center field. The ball left Bell’s bat at 109.7 MPH. The next batter, Yadiel Hernandez, did the same—he went to the opposite field for his 7th home run of the year. All of a sudden, Cabrera was in line for the loss after being ahead for most of the game. After Cabrera walked Carter Kieboom, Mattingly went to the bullpen.
Cabrera’s final line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 2 K on 78 pitches (50 strikes). He did a good job of mixing his slider, changeup, and fastball effectively, keeping the Nationals off balance most of the game. The team has to be encouraged with his Wednesday night showing.
The Marlins weren’t down for long. After a lead-off triple from Magneuris Sierra, Jesús Aguilar tied the game with a double. Aguilar continues to pace the National League in RBI. That got Cabrera off the hook; he wound up with a no-decision.
After a couple of scoreless innings from both bullpens, the game headed to extras. At the top of the tenth, with Carter Kieboom placed at second base, Riley Adams grounded a ball to right field for a base hit but Jesús Sánchez came up throwing a strike to nab Kieboom at the plate, keeping the game tied.
In the bottom half, Lewis Brinson successfully sacrificed Sánchez to third. Dave Martinez then decided to intentionally load the bases. Jorge Alfaro, who has been a victim of scrutiny all season long, singled to come through with his second walk off hit of the season, giving the Marlins a 4-3 win. The win snaps the team’s 8-game losing streak, improving their record to 52-75.
Elieser Hernandez will be on the mound for the rubber game Thursday night against Patrick Corbin.