*hums Enter Sandman over in the corner*
Sandy Alcantara had a career-defining game, the bats came to life and then some, and the Nationals got empanadas (courtesy of Gerardo Parra).
An outing that started out disturbingly shaky for Sandy ended up becoming one of the best starts he’s ever had. After allowing a run on a few singles in the first inning and putting two men on in the second inning, Sandy went on to retire the next TWENTY batters IN A ROW!
Sandy needed 43 pitches for those first two innings, which left us feeling like another bullpen burn was on the horizon. But he was having none of it. The veteran right-hander ended his spectacular night on an even 100 pitches (71 strikes). Final line: 8.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO.
Usually, when Sandy has a start like this, it’s overshadowed by a discussion about the bats not coming alive—they rarely provide adequate support on the days he starts. That was not the case on Monday! Of the nine Marlins batters who started the game, all reached base at least once, eight recorded a hit, and two reached base thrice (Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Bryan De La Cruz). De La Cruz raised his career batting average to .303, a top-10 mark among all active MLB position players.
And it began early, too. With one out in the second, Avisaíl García showed us all why he was brought here to Miami: to produce runs. The game was tied and the Marlins were not done. Brian Anderson walked, Bryan De La Doubled, González singled, Stallings doubled, and Jazz singled. The Marlins hung four runs on Aaron Sanchez to give Sandy some breathing room with a 4-1 lead.
It wasn’t perfect—there was a time in the third inning for them to leave the bases loaded, better known as a LOBsterfest. Innings four through six were the same old “cant move a runner over” team we are used to seeing.
They woke up again in the seventh. Stallings, Jazz, Aggy, Soler, and Garcia all hit singles, driving in another four runs. And even though there were no RBIs on the play, Bryan De La Doubled again!
[Got kicked out of the press box here. Please standby...]
With an 8-1 lead the Marlins looked to give Anthony Bass a chance in the ninth inning. Now, had you told me that sentence at the beginning of the season, I would be absolutely terrified. But not after how well Bass has pitched. With the other options at closer struggling, an 8-1 lead is the perfect time to get someone like Bass some reps in the ninth. It wasn’t clean—he did allow an unearned run—but he locked it down and the Marlins took this game by a score of 8-2.
And for the first time in my career, music was blasting in the Marlins clubhouse after the game.
- Jorge Soler hits the ball hard, VERY hard. On Monday, he put balls in play with exit velocities of 111.0, 112.7 and 113.2 mph. Soler became the first Marlins player since Giancarlo Stanton to have three 110+ mph batted balls in the same game!
- Avisail Garcia is definitely starting to live up to his contract. It’s a relief.
- The Marlins have hit a home run in ten consecutive games and they set a season-high for hits in a game with 16!
- The underrated performance of the night goes to Jacob Stallings who went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
- Bryan De La Cruz might finally be getting the reps in the field and at the plate that he deserves. The Marlins may find themselves with a competition for the starting CF spot if DLC continues at his current pace. Kevin Barral should have more on that in an upcoming article.
Don Mattingly’s Postgame Press Conference
With Luzardo on the IL, Cody Poteet will make a spot start on Tuesday as the Marlins try to win the series. Isaac Azout and Daniel Rodriguez will have the coverage for you from LoanDepot Park throughout the day.