My Marlins-Cardinals series prediction almost came true. Sandy Alcantara didn’t need much run support to salvage the series finale for Miami on Wednesday. Problem is, he didn’t get any run support, becoming the first Marlins pitcher in nearly nine years to suffer a complete game loss.
- Sandy Alcantara—8.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 7 K, 28.7 CSW% (108 pitches)
- Johan Oviedo—7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 32.2 CSW% (87 pitches)
Concluding a grueling stretch of playing games on 16 consecutive days, Don Mattingly decided it’d be valuable to send 30-something sluggers Jesús Aguilar, Adam Duvall and Starling Marte on their own mini-vacations. That has become an increasingly common tactic across Major League Baseball. However, doing so with all three of them at the same time put the club in a non-competitive position, relying on inexperienced and/or bad position players.
Credit to Johan Oviedo—he legitimately pitched well. The Cuban right-hander showed good fastball command, for the most part (except when he plunked Alcantara on his non-pitching arm) and mixed in a nasty curveball. Poor guy is still winless threw his first 12 career starts.
In the top of the fourth inning, Jesús Sánchez recorded the first hit since his call-up (second overall as a big leaguer) to set up a promising scoring opportunity. With an exit velocity of 111.9 mph, it would prove to be the hardest-hit ball by either team in this series.
It would also prove to be meaningless. Jon Berti was thrown out at the plate attempting to score on Jorge Alfaro’s grounder, then Lewin Díaz struck out to end the threat.
On the other side of the matchup, Sandy’s performance comes with its own asterisk: the Cards were without the services of Tommy Edman and Nolan Arenado. He didn’t take things easy on the thinner-than-usual lineup. His velocity topped out at 100.1 miles per hour, which was the fastest pitch of his Marlins career, according to Baseball Savant.
Díaz led off the ninth inning up blasting a Ryan Helsley fastball 390 feet down the right field line. It came within a couple feet of being a go-ahead home run, but the television broadcast clearly showed that it sliced to the wrong side of the foul pole and no member of the Marlins disputed the call. Unfortunately, the person operating MLB Gameday’s coverage was fooled, coding the play as a homer and triggering an erroneous MLB app push notification.
Jazz Chisholm Jr. continues to have mixed results as the interim starting shortstop. Paul Goldschmidt immediately advanced into scoring position in the bottom of the ninth on Chisholm’s double error (fielding and throwing). Navigating through the Cardinals lineup for a fourth time, Alcantara finally issued his first walk of the afternoon to Matt Carpenter. Yimi García was ready to enter from the bullpen, but Mattingly stuck with his starter against Yadier Molina. The veteran catcher plated the game’s one and only run on a hanging 0-2 changeup.
Alcantara increased his season total to 93 1⁄3 innings pitched, which leads the majors as of early Wednesday evening.
Officially beginning his sixth MLB season, newly recalled Deven Marrero started at third base and went 0-for-3 at the plate. That included grounding into a deflating double play in the top of the fifth. His time on the active roster may be short-lived—somebody needs to be squeezed off to make room for Miguel Rojas on Friday. Lewin Brinson, Isan Díaz and Lewin Díaz are all candidates to be optioned.
By the time you’re reading this, the Marlins team flight will have already landed in Chicago. Zach Thompson is expected to start the series opener against the Cubs, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet.