Sandy Alcantara’s calling card is his efficiency. Only Oakland’s Cole Irvin averages fewer pitches per inning this season. And while the former in Irvin has been a bright spot on an otherwise gloom-laden Athletic team, Alcantara has been arguably the NL’s best pitcher in 2022.
Sunday in the Nation’s Capital, both of those narratives were on display, as Alcantara was the personification of dominant efficiency.
The Marlins ace, aided by three double plays from his defense, needed just 103 pitches to author his 5th complete game and 13th win of the season in Miami’s 3-1 victory, their 60th of the season.
Alcantara, whose season ERA now sits at 2.37 through an MLB-best 212.2 IP, becomes the first pitcher since Corey Kluber and Ervin Santana in 2017 to go the distance five times in a single calendar year as he continues to assert his case for NL Cy Young.
“They know what I do,” said Sandy postgame. “All I can do is go out there every 5th day and do my job.”
Sandy Alcantara Complete Game— Bally Sports Florida: Marlins (@BallyMarlins) September 18, 2022
Marlins win 3-1!
Sandy is the first pitcher since 2017 to throw 5 Complete Games in a single season. This is his 14th game allowing 1 run or less.
The Cy Young Award is a @Marlins | #MakeItMiami pic.twitter.com/bif91qzVL8
Striking out 7 whilst scattering 7 Washington hits, Alcantara had completed the first 7 innings on just 71 pitches.
“No nonsense today. Get after it, trust your stuff, and he did that today,” said Don Mattingly.
The resurgent Bryan De La Cruz opened the scoring with an RBI single in the top of the 2nd. Since being recalled from AAA, De La Cruz has hit .320/.400/.600. Over his past 5 games, the utility outfielder has driven in 8 runs.
Designated hitter Garrett Cooper continued his offensive revival as well, taking former Marlin Aníbal Sánchez deep for his 9th home run of the season to give Miami a 2-1 lead.
Number 9, Number 9, Number 9— Louis Addeo-Weiss (@addeo_louis00) September 18, 2022
Coop's 9th long ball of the season gives Miami the lead. pic.twitter.com/Djrt3k62Bi
Sánchez, who entered Sunday posting a 1.16 ERA over his past 5 starts, limited his former club to just those 2 runs over 6 innings.
Miami would give their ace some insurance in the top of the 9th as a De La Cruz fielder’s choice plated the team’s third run.
The Marlins will be homeward bound as they get set to begin their second-to-last homestand of the season. Miami continues its slate of competition against already-eliminated clubs as Monday will see the commencement of a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs. Edward Cabrera (5-3, 2.70 ERA) will get the ball in Game 1 in what will be his 12th start of the season. Chicago will counter with Wade Miley (1-0, 2.89 ERA), limited to just 28 innings this year due to a shoulder injury. First pitch is slated for 6:40 Eastern from loanDepot Park.
- Shortstop Miguel Rojas exited Sunday’s game early. Per manager Don Mattingly, Rojas exited with an apparent stomach issue after experiencing cramps pregame.
- With his 5th complete game of the season, Sandy Alcantara becomes just the 6th Marlins pitcher to accomplish said feat. Of the 6 Marlins to do so, only Kevin Brown accomplished the feat twice.
- Over his last 5 starts against the Nationals, Alcantara has posted a 0.68 ERA, a stretch where he’s 4-0. His 0.84 ERA against them this season ranks 3rd in franchise history with a minimum of 4 starts.