Miguel Cabrera, one of baseball’s top young hitters, has been especially dangerous against the Washington Nationals. He has been in a slump at RFK Stadium, however, and the Florida Marlins haven’t been able to compensate.
Cabrera and the Marlins look to end their recent struggles in Washington as they try to salvage the finale of a three-game series with the Nationals on Wednesday night.
Florida (60-79) lost 4-3 to Washington (62-77) on Tuesday night, but Cabrera became the third-youngest player in history to drive in 500 runs with an RBI single in the fifth.
Cabrera was 24 years and 139 days old Tuesday, trailing only Mel Ott (23 years, 74 days) and Ted Williams (24 years, 4 days). He needs four more RBIs to become the third-youngest player with four straight 100-RBI seasons.
“There are going to be a lot of milestones ahead in his career,” Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez told the team’s official Web site.
The Marlins, however, have gotten little production from their star third baseman during a six-game losing streak at RFK Stadium. Cabrera is batting just .158 (3-for-19) in Washington since Florida’s last win there, 9-3 on April 3, and the Marlins are averaging 3.1 runs during that skid.
Cabrera has posted outstanding numbers lifetime in Washington, hitting .375 with 10 home runs and 42 RBIs in 41 games. He is batting .358 with 21 home runs, 16 doubles and 72 RBIs in 78 games against the Nationals overall.
Sergio Mitre (5-8, 4.57 ERA), who will start for Florida on Wednesday, has gotten a total of one run to work with from Cabrera and the Marlins lineup during his last two starts. The right-hander, though, has been terrible over his last four outings, going 0-3 with a 10.35 ERA and a .427 opponent batting average.
In his last start, Mitre gave up six runs and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings of a 9-2 loss to Philadelphia on Friday night.
Mitre earned a win against the Nationals on July 14, allowing two runs and six hits in 7 2-3 innings as the Marlins won 5-2. He is 1-1 with a 4.86 ERA in two starts and four relief appearances against Washington.
The Nationals, who have won four straight, will counter with Tim Redding (3-5, 3.27 ERA). The right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.46 ERA in four career starts against the Marlins, but hasn’t faced them since 2004.
Redding has lost his last two starts overall, posting an 8.00 ERA. He allowed three runs and five hits in five innings of a 3-2 loss to San Francisco on Friday night.
That was the final loss of a seven-game skid for the Nationals, who have since posted a 1.75 ERA to notch their longest winning streak since a six-game run from July 31-Aug. 5.
Washington’s streak was extended with a dramatic ninth-inning rally Tuesday. Rookie catcher Jesus Flores hit a two-run double for his fifth game-winning hit of the season.
“He’s got some big hits for us for five months now,” Nationals manager Manny Acta said. “I’m not going to start pinch-hitting for him now. We trust the kid.”