If the saying “all good things must come to an end” were to be applied to baseball in 2022, what better scenario to do that with than the recent run of pitching by Sandy Alcantara.
In a 13-start stretch spanning May 24-July 15th, Alcantara threw 102.2 innings, allowing only 15 earned runs for a minuscule 1.31 ERA.
The two-time All-Star pitched at least 7 innings in each of those outings, establishing himself as the early favorite for the NL Cy Young.
In Sunday’s finale over 6-4 victory against the Pirates, Alcantara’s streak came to an end in what Don Mattingly merely described as “no good.”
Another 10 K performance for Sandy Alcantara— Bally Sports Florida: Marlins (@BallyMarlins) July 24, 2022
→ https://t.co/j0pi66RJDy@Marlins | #MakeItMiami pic.twitter.com/990Kl4DTbr
That “no good,” though, still saw the Marlins’ ace collect his 4th double-digit strikeout game of the season and 10th for his career. Throwing 105 pitches, Alcantara stranded 3 walks, a hit-by-pitch, and a Ke’Bryan Hayes single.
The only real damage against Alcantara came via a Oneil Cruz home run that opened the scoring in the third, and a Ben Gamel sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 6th.
Pittsburgh wouldn’t be long for the lead, though, as Bryan De La Cruz would tag Mitch Keller for his 7th home run of the season. De La Cruz would tag on another run in the 9th on a single to drive in JJ Bleday.
Bryan De La Cruz goes lift off#Marlins pic.twitter.com/mQav30ksu7— Louis Addeo-Weiss (@addeo_louis00) July 24, 2022
Speaking of Bleday - the Marlins’ 4th ranked prospect - got the start in center field Sunday, collecting his first career hit with an infield single in the 2nd, along with his first stolen base and double to finish a 2-4 day.
Bleday times up a fastball and rockets it at 107.6 mph for a double. pic.twitter.com/OE5QfA7lat— Ethan Budowsky (@ethanbudowsky) July 24, 2022
Heading into the 9th with a 4-2 lead, Don Mattingly would turn to Anthony Bass, who hadn’t allowed a run since June 13th, though he would cough up the lead at the hands of Yoshi Tsutsugo’s two-run single. Tsutsugo’s game-tying hit was set up by a crucial fielding error by first baseman Jesús Aguilar, all of which led to a blown save for Bass, and deprived Alcantara of a chance to earn a new career-best 10th win.
For the 11th time this season, the Fish would be forced into extra innings.
Quickly, though, pinch hitter Nick Fortes would put Miami ahead with an RBI single in the 10th. Miguel Rojas would add some insurance with an RBI single of his own to make it a 6-4 affair.
Closing it out in the bottom half in what was his first big league appearance since July 26, 2020, Jeff Brigham would collect his second career save.
Jeff Brigham with the save and a "F*** yeah" for the Fish pic.twitter.com/GkVluakhvR— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) July 24, 2022
“Good for him...he’s been here, throws strikes, has a good breaking ball. It was nice to see someone we hadn’t seen in a while,” said Mattingly.
Miami’s trek through the NL Central continues Monday as they travel to Cincinnatti to begin a four-game series against the cellar-dwelling Reds. Trevor Rogers (4-9, 5.46 ERA) will square off against Nick Lodolo (2-3, 5.81 ERA) in a battle of southpaws as he goes for the Reds. First pitch is slated for 6:40 Eastern.
- According to the Miami Herald’s Jordan McPherson, third baseman Brian Anderson was placed on the 10-day IL with a left shoulder strain, sustained when diving for a ball in the 6th inning of Saturday’s 1-0 loss.
- Max Meyer, would go on the 15-day IL with a right elbow sprain. Leaving after 10 pitches in just his 2nd career start, Meyer currently ranks as the Marlins’ second-best prospect, according to MLB.com.
- Lost in the shuffle of JJ Bleday’s first career start was the big league debut of Huascar Brazoban. Striking out 1 in a scoreless 7th, Brazoban, a 32-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, hadn’t pitched in affiliated ball since 2017 before signing a minor league deal with Miami prior to the start of the 2022 season.