Rookie starter Josiah Gray and debuting righty Edward Cabrera had themselves a high-profile pitchers’ duel in the second of three between Gray’s Washington Nationals and Cabrera’s Miami Marlins in loanDepot park, with Gray giving up two runs in six innings against the Fish and Cabrera giving up three four hits in 6 1⁄3 IP versus the Nats.
Miami’s 23-year-old right-hander tossed six scoreless in his first major league start, but surrendered a leadoff walk and a one-out, two-run home run in the top of the seventh.
Josh Bell took Cabrera out to center on a line drive that cleared the fence, and Yadiel Hernández followed with a solo shot to left field as a 2-0 lead turned into a 3-2 deficit.
The home team tied it up in the bottom of the inning, however, and they went into extra innings tied at 3-3, but the Marlins won it on a bases-loaded single by Jorge Alfaro in the bottom of the tenth, 4-3 final...
Gray vs Miami: Josiah Gray is four starts into his time with the Nationals, and the 23-year-old right-hander has made a strong impression since coming over from the Dodgers as a piece of the return for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner.
Gray put up a 2.86 ERA, five walks, 22 Ks, and a .225/.279/.513 line against in 22 IP in the four outings, over which he gave up more home runs (seven) than he’d like, all solo shots at least though.
What was his manager looking for from Gray as he settled into his new home and the Nats’ big league rotation?
“What he does in certain situations, when he elevates, when he keeps the ball down, when he throws his breaking balls, we’re watching all that stuff,” Davey Martinez said after Gray’s six-inning start against the Blue Jays last week.
Josiah Gray, Dirty 83mph Curveball. pic.twitter.com/2b0p2uaDpr— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 26, 2021
“He’s got a great idea of what he wants to do and how he wants to attack hitters.”
Going up against the Marlins for the first time tonight, Gray tossed a scoreless, 12-pitch first, but a one-out walk came around to score in the second, with Brian Anderson taking a free pass, taking second base on a one-hopper to first that Josh Bell snagged at the bag, before throwing it by second trying for a double play, and scoring on a two-out hit to left by Jorge Alfaro, 1-0.
Jazz Chisholm, Jr. singled to start the Marlins’ third, stole second base as Jesús Aguilar K’d swinging, took third on a wild pitch to Jesús Sánchez, but was stranded there.
Gray put a pair of runners on in the fourth, with a leadoff walk and a two-out intentional base on balls, but he stranded them too in a 21-pitch frame that left him at 62 total.
Sánchez doubled to left off Gray with two out in the fifth, but was stranded at the end of a 14-pitch inning.
Brian Anderson got all of an 0-1, 94 MPH fastball from Gray in the first at bat of the Marlins’ sixth, and hit it out to center for his 7th of 2021 and a 2-0 lead for the home team. 8th solo homer off Gray in five starts with the Nationals.
Josiah Gray’s Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 91 P, 62 S, 6/4 GO/FO.
Josiah Gray has made 5 starts as a Washington National.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 26, 2021
He's gone at least 5 IP in all of them.
He hasn't given up more than 5 hits in any of them.
He's got a 2.89 ERA.#GrayDay // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/Ez9YkJ31q7
Carbrera vs D.C.: Davey Martinez said before last night’s game that he was looking forward to the challenge of going up against the top-ranked pitcher, and the No. 2 overall prospect, in Miami’s system according to MLB’s Pipeline scouts, Edward Cabrera, a 23-year-old right-hander who was called up to make his major league debut tonight, after signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2015.
“I’m anxious to see our guys face a kid like that, I really am,” Martinez said. “Especially our young guys. And see how they can handle him.
“This kid is supposed to be really good. I watched some video on him. He looks like he’s got some good stuff. So I’m really excited to see our guys match up against somebody like him and see what happens.”
Cabrera, who’d pitched at High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A in the Nationals’ system so far in 2021, had put up a combined 2.93 ERA with 25 walks and 92 Ks in 13 starts and 61 1⁄3 IP.
Tonight in Miami, the righty tossed two scoreless and hitless to start on 17 pitches, but gave up a leadoff single in the third, that he stranded three outs later, in a 12-pitch frame that left him at 29 pitches after three scoreless.
Cabrera worked around an infield single in a scoreless, 13-pitch fourth, and a one-out hit-by-pitch on Carter Kieboom’s wrist in a seven-pitch fifth.
Riley Adams walked to start the sixth, but Josiah Gray bunt-lined out to first, and a grounder to third by Lane Thomas started an inning-ending 5-4-3 DP.
With a 2-0 lead after six, Carbera walked the first batter he faced in the seventh, and one out later Josh Bell made him pay, hitting a 92 MPH 0-2 changeup out to center field on a line to knot it up at 2-2 with his 21st HR of 2021.
Yadiel Hernández stepped in next and hit one to left-center on a 94 MPH 1-1 changeup. A walk to Carter Kieboom followed and brought an abrupt end to the righty’s MLB debut.
Edward Cabrera’s Line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 Ks, 2 HRs, 78 P, 50 S, 7/2 GO/FO.
SotOBP: Juan Soto started the night having reached base safely in 12 straight games, which the Nationals noted was, “his fifth on-base streak of at least 11 games this season.”
“According to the Elias Sports Bureau,” they added, “no other player has more than four on-base streaks of at least 11 games this season.”
And Soto, of course, was also the only qualified player in the majors with more walks than Ks on the season, going into the second of three in Miami, “leading MLB with a 1.29 BB/SO ratio (98 BB/76 SO).”
Soto was 0 for 3 against Marlins’ starter Edward Cabrera, and 0 for 4 after he grounded out with Anthony Bass on the mound in the eighth.
Bullpen Action: Anthony Bender took over with the Marlins trailing 3-2 all of a sudden in the top of the seventh, with a runner on first base after a one-out walk to Carter Kieboom by the Marlins’ starter, but he got out of the inning without further damage.
Andres Machado came on for the Nats in the bottom of the seventh and gave up a triple to right field by Magneuris Sierra in the first at bat, and a one-out RBI double by Jesús Aguilar, whose 21st two-base hit of the season tied it up at 3-3. Machado stranded him at third, and kept it tied, however.
Anthony Bass retired the Nationals in order in the top of the eighth.
Kyle McGowin retired the Marlins in order in the bottom of the eighth.
Richard Bleier tossed a scoreless top of the ninth to keep it tied at 3-3.
Austin Voth got the bottom of the ninth for the Nationals, and Bryan De La Cruz reached on a grounder to third that Carter Kieboom tried to backhand but missed, turning it into a two-base hit, effectively. Voth struck Miguel Rojas out with a 2-2 curve for out No. 1, and got out No. 2 on a groundout by Jazz Chisholm, Jr. An intentional walk to Jesús Aguilar brought up Jesús Sánchez, with runners on the corners, and a fly to left ended the threat and sent it to extras.
Carter Kieboom, the Nationals’ free runner, tried to score from second on a one-out single to right by Riley Adams, but was thrown out for the second out of the frame, and a K from Ryan Zimmerman ended the top of the inning.
Kyle Finnegan tried to keep the Marlins off the board in the bottom of the inning, but Lewis Brinson bunted the free runner (Jesús Sánchez) over to third successfully, and after IBBs to both Brian Anderson and Isan Díaz loaded the bases and Jorge Alfaro won it with a single.
Final Score: 4-3 Marlins
Nationals now 54-71