Aug 20, 2014, 12:56 PM EDT
Since Asdrubal Cabrera arrived in Washington on Aug. 1 – a day after he was acquired at the 2014 non-waiver trade deadline – the Nationals have gone 13-5 overall and 11-4 with him in the lineup. He has reached base at a .348 clip since joining the Nationals and has eight RBI and seven runs in 15 games.
On Sunday, Cabrera sent the Nats and Pirates to extra innings with an RBI single to tie it up in the bottom of the ninth. He also swung a double play ball behind his back in the eighth inning for the top play on SportsCenter that night.
On Tuesday, Cabrera cleared the bases in the third with a three-RBI double off Arizona starter Chase Anderson. It blew the game open between the Nationals and Diamondbacks in an eventual 8-1 Washington win.
There is no replacing Ryan Zimmerman, of course, but so far Cabrera has done more than enough to justify his acquisition. He has helped deepen the Nats’ lineup while also adding sound defense at second base.
“They bring me here to help the team and that’s what I try to do,” Cabrera said. “Every game I try to do my best and help the team to win.”
Cabrera’s impact reaches much farther than his play in the field. The 28-year-old is already a respected figure in the Nationals locker room, just ask Ian Desmond.
“The reputation that he has around the league, what the guys say when they come to second base and what the umpires have to say about him, it’s all great,” Desmond said.
“I know me, personally, when I get to establish myself in the league a little more, I want to be known as a professional and that’s what he is. He’s what you strive to be as a ballplayer. That’s just respected and appreciated and we definitely appreciate him here.”
Manager Matt Williams has enjoyed the versatility Cabrera brings as a player who can play both middle infield positions and who hits switch.
“He’s a pro,” Williams said. “His time at shortstop I think helps everything. Coming in, he hadn’t played second base in a while, but switch-hitting capabilities, been in situations like this, hitting in the middle of the order of a team, and a contending team, helps everything. So he’s been here, he’s done it, and he understands what he needs to do when he goes up there and hits to the situation. He’s played really well.”
What stands out most for Cabrera in his time in Washington so far is his consistency. He has reached base in 12 straight games and only three times in his 15 appearances has he gone hitless.
That’s really all the Nationals can ask for from the veteran, something steady at second base, a rare luxury for them in recent seasons.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
TUE: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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