The Cincinnati Reds, who will continue with their playoff push on Saturday night against the host Miami Marlins, might have a newcomer in the lineup.
Cincinnati picked up Asdrubal Cabrera off waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday. The veteran is expected to join the Reds in time for Saturday’s game, and he could be used as a pinch hitter as well as at any of the four infield positions.
Primarily, though, Reds manager David Bell indicated that the plan for Cabrera will be for him to provide some relief for the corner infielders, Joey Votto at first and Mike Moustakas at third.
“We’re adding a player who has a lot of experience in big games and with good teams,” Bell said of Cabrera, who has appeared in the playoffs in five of his 15 major league seasons.
“Asdrubal has a great reputation as a teammate. We’ve seen him a lot over the years — solid player who takes great at-bats. He’ll strengthen our bench and also get opportunities to start.”
Cabrera joins a Reds team that is 5-0 against the Marlins this year. Going back to 2019, the Reds have won 11 of their past 12 games against Miami.
A switch hitter, Cabrera is batting .290 against lefties this year. That should help the Reds, whose batting average vs. lefties (.232) is the lowest in the National League.
On Saturday, the Reds will face a right-hander, Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara (7-12, 3.35 ERA).
Alcantara is 0-2 with a 3.60 ERA in four career appearances against the Reds, including two starts. This year, he is 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA against the Reds, losing to them 3-1 last Sunday. In that game, he struck out 11 and walked just two in seven innings, allowing four hits and two runs.
An All-Star in 2019, Alcantara is considered the leader of a talented and young Marlins rotation.
“That’s what the Marlins are looking for from me,” Alcantara said, “and that’s what I want, too. It doesn’t matter how young I am (25). I’ve been in the major leagues (since 2017).”
Marlins manager Don Mattingly loves what Alcantara brings.
“Pitching is what we hang our hats on,” Mattingly said, “and Sandy leads the way.”
Cincinnati will counter Alcantara with rookie right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez (9-4, 3.68 ERA).
Gutierrez, who turns 26 next month, beat the Marlins the only time he has faced them, and that was the 3-1 victory over Alcantara on Sunday. Gutierrez was masterful in that game, striking out eight batters in seven innings while allowing just three hits, one walk and one run.
Miami, which is in last place in the National League East, is looking to play spoiler against the Reds.
Among the Marlins’ hottest hitters is rookie outfielder Bryan De La Cruz, who is batting .348 through 26 games. Among the veterans, first baseman Jesus Aguilar (22 homers, 89 RBIs) and shortstop Miguel Rojas (.270 batting average, 34 RBIs) are putting up solid numbers.
However, Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson missed Friday’s game due to a sprained left thumb.
Cincinnati is led by center fielder Tyler Naquin, who has a 16-game hit streak after going 3-for-4 with a homer on Friday. Naquin is 28-for-60 (.467) with six homers and 10 RBIs during the streak.
–Field Level Media