Wednesday’s 7-0 shutout victory for the Marlins over the San Diego Padres doesn’t mean much in the context of the NL East.
With the win, Miami improves to 48-67, 19 games below .500 with the thought of back-to-back playoff appearances merely a pipe dream at this current time. The win, too, ends the team’s 6 game road trip 1-5, a stretch in which they were outscored 48-30.
That being said, Wednesday’s series finale saw staff ace Sandy Alcantara rebound from what was easily the worst outing of his career to this point. In Friday’s series opener against the Colorado Rockies - themselves in last place in the NL West - Alcantara lasted just 3.2 innings, allowing 10 earned runs, including 3 home runs, respectively.
7 shutout innings later, and Alcantara’s quick reset paid off in his career-best 7th win of the season.
“He was the ace that you expected,” said interim manager James Rowson.
Rowson went on to call Alcantara’s bounce back a “big shot in the arm” for a team that entered play 3-8 in the month of August.
Beyond the struggles of the team as a whole has been the rise of Lewis Brinson, who went 3-4 with 2 home runs, both coming in the game’s first three innings.
Wednesday marked Brinson’s first multi-home run game since June 6, 2018, when he did so against the St. Louis Cardinals. Over his last 33 games played, according to Ryan Spaeder, Brinson has slashed .323/.357/.645.
Feel-good stories beyond those two manifested themselves in rookie outfielder Bryan De La Cruz, who hit his first career home run Wednesday. Connecting on a 95-mph fastball off fellow rookie Ryan Weathers, son of longtime pitcher David Weathers, De La Cruz’s first home run landed in the left field seats of pitcher friendly-Petco Park, extending the Marlins’ lead to 4-0 in the top of the 2nd.
Bryan De La Cruz with his first career homer!!! pic.twitter.com/HQhFxLJ8jA— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) August 11, 2021
“It’s a dream come true,” uttered a smiling De La Cruz through an interpreter. “It’s without a doubt, the best day of my career thus far,” followed De La Cruz.
With no game Thursday as the team flies home from San Diego, Miami will begin a 6-game homestand Friday against the once formative Chicago Cubs. As it currently sits, Jesús Luzardo is set to make his third start in a Marlins’ uniform in the series opener Friday against Kyle Hendricks. In 7 career starts against the Fish, Hendricks has made it quite the one-sided affair, posting a 1.28 ERA over 7 starts and 49.1 innings pitched.