Low-scoring Pirates, Marlins to meet again

MLB

The Pittsburgh Pirates rely on Bryan Reynolds, and the Miami Marlins are doing the same with Bryan De La Cruz.

When the Pirates play the host Marlins on Saturday in the middle game of three this weekend, the center fielders are among the players to watch.

In 144 games this year, Reynolds is hitting .299 with career highs in home runs (23) and RBIs (86).

“He keeps it simple,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of the 26-year-old Reynolds. “He’s worried about hitting the ball hard, making sure he’s on time.

“If you want to call that old school, I think every hitter has to do that, but some of them get caught up doing other things.”

De La Cruz, 24, has been a revelation since making his major league debut on July 30. The Marlins traded for De La Cruz, who is hitting .333 in 43 games. He has hit seven doubles, one triple and five homers, and his defense has been outstanding as evidenced by the Pirates runner he threw out at the plate on Friday. His triple also came Friday.

“It’s hard to say he’s been anything but great,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of De La Cruz. “He plays good defense. His at-bats are consistent, and he is consistent daily.”

Consistency has not been the forte of Marlins rookie right-hander Edward Cabrera (0-1, 6.61 ERA), who will start on Saturday.

Cabrera, who made his MLB debut on Aug. 25 and has yet to face the Pirates, started strong. He allowed just three runs in 6 1/3 innings against the Washington Nationals in his debut.

Since then, however, he has allowed nine runs in 10 innings in three starts, and the Marlins lost all three.

Cabrera has held right-handed hitters to a .154 batting average and a .622 OPS. But lefty hitters have feasted on him (.355 batting average, 1.234 OPS).

Cabrera, ranked 30th among prospects by MLB Pipeline, has a fastball that can climb up to triple digits. Mostly, though, he pitches at about 95 mph. Cabrera also has a slider and a changeup — solid pitches that need more consistency.

The Pirates will counter Cabrera with right-hander Bryse Wilson (2-7, 4.97 ERA), debuted in the majors in 2018 with the Atlanta Braves.

He is 5-8 with a 5.33 ERA in 29 career games, including 21 starts. But in seven starts with the Pirates, he is winless: 0-4 with a 5.09 ERA.

The 23-year-old Wilson has done well in two appearances against the Marlins, including one start, going 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA.

The Pirates, who acquired Wilson on July 30 in a trade that sent reliever Richard Rodriguez to Atlanta, have yet to see the benefits of that deal.

Meanwhile, both Wilson and Cabrera are hoping their teams offer them improved run support on Saturday. The Pirates entered this weekend ranked last in the majors in runs scored. The Marlins are third-from-the-bottom.

That lack of offense was in evidence on Friday night as the Pirates took the series opener, 2-1. The Pirates managed just six hits on Friday, and they have scored just two total runs in their past two games. The Marlins managed just five hits on Friday.

–Field Level Media

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