Asdrubal Cabrera’s injury, loss to Marlins pile pressure on D-backs
PHOENIX — It wasn’t like the Arizona Diamondbacks were knocking hits all over Chase Field and the wind got sucked out of their sails Thursday night against the Miami Marlins.
Still, the timing of first baseman Asdrubal Cabrera flailing head-first into second base with a strained right hamstring in the sixth inning felt that way.
It was immediately clear he was in pain after successfully stealing the base, and the lifeless D-backs offense unsurprisingly didn’t spark after he limped off with a grimace during the home team’s 5-1 loss to Miami.
Arizona lost its eighth game in the past 10 outings, and if bad news comes out of Cabrera’s MRI planned for Friday, it will put more strain on a roster that has dealt with a relatively large share of injuries this week.
“I mean, we’ve seen a lot of them unfortunately,” shortstop Nick Ahmed said of the rash of injuries. “It’s never easier to swallow. We’ve had a lot of them.”
The half-inning following Cabrera’s injury, the game got away from the D-backs as Miami scored three runs.
Manager Torey Lovullo applauded the night for starting pitcher Merrill Kelly, who went an efficient 6.1 innings before things went a little sideways. He allowed seven hits and three runs.
Marlins center fielder Magneuris Sierra began the third inning with a leadoff double, and shortstop Miguel Rojas sent him home with a one-out single up the middle. Rojas was tagged out trying to reach second base, and Kelly got out of the frame by allowing a third hit but minimal damage with Miami up 1-0.
The Diamondbacks tied the game up, 1-1, in the bottom of the fifth with Tim Locastro starting things off with a ground-rule double. A sacrifice-bunt by Kelly moved Locastro to third before a sac-fly by Pavin Smith sent the base-runner home.
Miami’s Corey Dickerson, Adam Duvall and Brian Anderson singled throughout the sixth to put the Marlins back ahead, 2-1, but Kelly again avoided letting things snowball.
But snowball they did after Cabrera’s scary fall.
Arizona reliever Chris Devenski entered for Kelly with a runner on first base and one out but allowed a double and three singles in succession that scored the three Miami runs in the frame. Devenski got out of the inning with a double-play following a mound visit, but the 5-1 score stood by the end of the night.
Meanwhile, the D-backs left seven runners on base and went 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position.
They’re left with the list of injured starters growing by one, if Cabrera’s hamstring strain is as bad as it appeared.
Center fielder Ketel Marte, starting pitcher Zac Gallen, outfielder Kole Calhoun, first baseman Christian Walker and pitcher Taylor Widener remain on the injured list. Gallen and Walker on Wednesday were added to it.
While Smith appears to be the likely player who will see more time at first base with Cabrera and Walker potentially both out, that move will pare down the already thin outfield depth.
Cabrera, who more often plays third base, can be spelled there by Eduardo Escobar. Escobar started at third on Thursday with Andrew Young making his second start of the year at second base. Maybe Young takes advantage of the domino effect of the loss.
Such less experience D-backs, said Ahmed, now must “just to go out there and be confident, not try to do too much, not try to be Asdrubal Cabrera or Ketel Marte or whoever’s spot they’re filling in for.
“… Pretty much everybody in this game gets an opportunity when someone gets hurt.”
Added Lovullo of losing Cabrera: “It’s the leadership that we’re going to miss. It’s time for somebody to fill that void while he’s gone.”