Sunday’s finale of the four-game set between the Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals read on paper as a classic pitcher’s duel.
In one corner, you have the Marlins’ workhorse, Sandy Alcantara, entering Sunday’s game with a 1.19 ERA over his last 4 starts. For Washington, it was their ace, three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer.
Through the first 5 innings, both limited the respective offenses to 1 run. Alcantara allowed an unearned run to score in the first following a Josh Harrison single, while Scherzer surrendered a leadoff triple to Jazz Chisholm, followed by an RBI double courtesy of Jesús Aguilar.
Jazz Chisholm showing the best way to slide into a triple. pic.twitter.com/EZdc0YapaA— Will Manso (@WillManso) June 27, 2021
Come the 6th inning, though, and what was shaping out to be another great outing for Alcantara quickly turned ugly.
A four-pitch walk to Kyle Schwarber would be magnified when shortstop Trea Turner deposited a 97-mph sinker over right-center for his 12th home run of the season. After a Juan Soto single, Alcantara would be bit by the home run-bug once again, this time at the mercy of Josh Bell.
Sandy would exit two batters later, allowing 5 runs (4 earned) over 5.1 innings, having walked and struck out 3, respectively, as the Marlins lost 5-1. Alcantara - whose record now sits at 4-7 - now owns a career 6.50 ERA in 7 starts against the Nationals. The right-hander later acknowledged to having pitched Sunday’s game under the weather, expressing what manager Don Mattingly referred to as a “bit of a head-cold.”
Scherzer would battle to the tune of 27 pitches through his 6th and final inning to finish with 7 strikeouts en route to his 7th win of the season. Of note, too, is the future Hall of Famer’s 3rd inning strikeout of Starling Marté, which would be career punchout No. 2,900. Should he stay healthy, Scherzer can easily become the 19th member of the 3,000 strikeout club later this season.
For the Marlins—who now fall to 33-44 with 12 games to play before the All-Star break— Sunday’s loss also saw the team’s offensive bipolarity reach a new low. The Fish failed to record one out via the fly ball compared to 17 of their outs on the ground and 10 strikeouts. The Marlins have now struck out 10 or more times in 35 games this season.
Miami will be off Monday as they travel to Philadelphia to begin a three-game series against the Phillies on Tuesday. As of Sunday, no starter for Tuesday’s series opener has been announced, though first pitch is slated for 7:05 Eastern.
- Max Scherzer