Bill Hass on Baseball:Despite loss, Cabrera has promising start

Despite loss, Cabrera has promising start
from Bill Hass with Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball at

Raw talent met experience Tuesday night, and experience won out.

The Miami Marlins have high hopes for young right-hander Edward Cabrera, who won’t turn 20 until Friday. He had an uneven performance but battled through five innings and kept his team in the game.

But the Hoppers never had a chance to win because their offense was totally stifled by three Augusta pitchers. Starter Jason Bahr set the tone and the GreenJackets allowed just two hits and three baserunners all night en route to a 5–0 win. No Hopper reached third base.

Bahr is 23 years old and was a fifth-round draft pick by San Francisco out of Central Florida last summer. He hit his spots all night, throwing strikes on 60 of 81 pitches, and recorded nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

By contrast, Cabrera also threw 81 pitches, but only 45 were strikes. He allowed just one hit and struck out four, but walked five.

All things considered, the Hoppers were pleased with Cabrera’s performance.

“He’s got to refine things,” said manager Todd Pratt. “You’ve got to let him develop. I thought it was an outstanding first start. When he gets to the point that he can locate his pitches, no one will touch him.”

Pratt, a catcher in the major leagues for 14 years, said two things young pitchers have to learn are “pounding the strike zone and saving their pitches.” By that, he meant not running up the counts on batters, which leads to fewer pitches per inning.

Cabrera, who has a smooth, no-frills delivery, was obviously excited about his first start and began the game throwing in the range of 97 to 99 miles per hour. Pitching coach Mark DiFelice talked to him about slowing down, and Cabrera dropped into the mid-90s and lower.

“When he was throwing so hard, his fastball was up,” DiFelice said. “I’ll take a fastball 94 to 96 that goes downhill for a strike. He’ll learn when to dial it up when he needs it.

“We like to look on the positive side. He showed poise and he got us through five innings with 81 pitches. He’s got this season to learn how to control his body, how to get into a routine and be ready every fifth day and stay consistent.”

NOTES: Augusta’s Malique Ziegler went 3-for-4, including his second homer of the series … Colton Hock pitched three innings of relief for the Hoppers, allowing one run while striking out five … Isael Soto was the only Hopper to reach second base after his double in the first inning … The series concludes Wednesday with a Schoolkids Day game that begins at 10:45 a.m. … Brady Puckett, the winning pitcher in Greensboro’s opener, will start for the Hoppers … Full Disclosure: I’ll miss this one. Check for a game summary on the Hoppers’ website.