Every pitcher’s dream might be winning the Cy Young, performing well in a World Series, or maybe even winning the pitching Triple Crown. But there’s a prestigious, important feat that not every hurler accomplishes through their career: receiving the ball to start on Opening Day.
That’s the first goal on Sandy Alcántara’s mind to begin the season. He wants to be on the bump when the Marlins host the Phillies at Marlins Park (whether that be on March 26 and pushed back due to Coronavirus concerns).
“Yes! I want the ball on Opening Day,” Alcántara said during the Fox Sports Florida broadcast for the Marlins-Yankees game on Wednesday. “Everybody wants that, but there’s a lot of competition.”
That’s true. Although Alcántara was arguably the best Marlins starting pitcher in 2019, others could get the nod, such as Pablo López, Caleb Smith, Jordan Yamamoto, and even José Ureña, who started season openers in both 2018 and 2019.
Marlins Opening Day starters, 2010-2019
Alcántara—or whoever is designated by Don Mattingly to begin the season in the No. 1 slo—will try to leave behind a negative streak of five Opening Day losses. Miami has lost every opener since 2015 and eight of its last 10.
The Dominican righty could benefit from his strong finish last year. In his last 11 outings, he put up a 2.78 ERA across 74 1⁄3 innings, with only 57 hits allowed and a .207 opponent batting average during that span.
“We’ve got a lot of talent over here. There are a lot of pitchers and we are competing for a spot,” he said. “We don’t know if we are number one, number two, number four...I just want to keep playing the game, keep having fun, and keep getting better.”
After Wednesday’s game against a Yankees lineup that included Clint Frazier, Miguel Andújar, and Gio Urshela, Alcántara is 1-1, 7.50 ERA in four starts (12.0 IP, 11 H, 10 ER, 11 BB, 8 SO).