Asdrubal Cabrera leads way as Indians complete sweep of Reds

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Asdrubal Cabrera, the American League’s best shortstop since day one this season, delivered two homers as part of a 5-for-5, five-RBI game as the Indians routed the Reds 12-4 and completed a three-game sweep Sunday.

Cabrera has nine homers, ranking him second only to Troy Tulowitzki among major league shortstops.  Jhonny Peralta is third with seven.  Cabrera leads all shortstops with 32 RBI and 32 runs scored.

Of course, it’s not likely to get him a start over Derek Jeter in the All-Star Game, but barring a big slump, he will make the team for the first time.

The Indians also got a nice game from Michael Brantley, who went 3-for-5 with a double, a steal and three runs scored as Grady Sizemore’s replacement in the leadoff spot.  Primarily valued for his speed, on-base skills and defense, he’s been a very pleasant surprise in contributing three homers and 13 RBI in 18 games this month.

The Reds received homers from Joey Votto and Jay Bruce in the contest, but it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome an ugly outing from Edinson Volquez, who should have been pulled from the rotation earlier this month.  Volquez, the team’s Opening Day starter, gave up seven runs — six earned — in 2 2/3 innings to raise his ERA to 6.35.  He walked four today, giving him 38 walks in 51 innings for the season.

With the victory, the Indians moved to 29-15.  They’re not only leading the AL Central by 7 1/2 games, but they’re 4 1/2 games up on the Yankees and Rays for the American League’s best record.

The Reds have lost five in a row to fall to 25-22.  It’s their longest losing streak of this season, and it matches their longest from 2010.

Brewers to give Mike Moustakas a look at second base

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The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.

The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.

This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.

Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.