One of the themes of this season for the Marlins has been the poor run support being provided to their starting pitchers. The offense occasionally erupts like we saw on Friday, but seemingly never when Sandy Alcántara is on the mound. The Dominican right-hander is pitching as well as ever, going eight innings in each of his last two starts. Somehow, the Marlins lost both games.
On June 16, Alcántara took the loss against the Cardinals even though he pitched 8 1⁄3 innings of six hits and an unearned run. The Marlins didn’t score at all. Then on Tuesday, he went eight innings and surrendered five hits with one earned run vs. the Blue Jays, but Miami just cashed in once.
Because of this, Alcántara became just the third starter in Marlins’ history to pitch at least eight frames in two or more consecutive games with every game resulting in a team loss. The others are Dontrelle Willis (May 16 and 21, 2006) and Dennis Springer (August 21 and 27, 1999).
Overall, the Marlins average 3.4 runs per game in Alcántara’s 16 outings, compared to 4.1 runs per game when anybody else starts. They have a 6-6 record in Sandy’s 12 quality starts.
In recent years, Jacob deGrom has been the poster child for aces who have a weak supporting cast. Alcántara may be in the process of taking that title away from him. He is MLB’s only starting pitcher to have three games this season of going at least eight innings deep in a team loss.
Credit to Alcántara for rising to the occasion when he has little to no margin for error. We generally see the best version of him when the Marlins score zero, one, or two runs.
It doesn’t matter if your name is Alcántara, deGrom, Randy Johnson, or Sandy Koufax—if your team can’t give you enough runs, your excellence won’t be reflected in the win column. Sandy has pitched like the ace he is so far in 2021, but the Marlins have failed to be offensively consistent, an aspect they need to take a look at in order to compete going forward.