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MIA 3, SFG 4: Sandy’s late-game struggles continue in loss against the Giants

The Marlins are now just 2-7 this season in games started by the reigning NL Cy Young award winner.

Sandy Alcantara #22 of the Miami Marlins pitches in the bottom of the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on May 19, 2023 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

After a successful homestand, Miami began their 10-game road trip in San Francisco on Friday night.

The first run of the game occurred in the bottom of the fourth inning. A Mitch Haniger RBI double drove in Michael Conforto, who had a base hit in his at-bat. Haniger took advantage of Sandy in this at-bat as the sinker just seemed to not be working for him. The Giants took the 1-0 lead.

After being unable to get anything going, the Marlins offense woke up and got to Giants starter Anthony DeSclafani in the top of the sixth inning. Jorge Soler worked the walk, Luis Arráez had his 10th double of the season and his third hit of the night, and Bryan De La Cruz continued his hitting streak which drove in both Soler and Arráez to give Miami a 2-1 lead.

That didn’t last long because everything went wrong for Alcantara in the bottom of the sixth. After giving up a walk to LaMonte Wade Jr. and a base hit to Thairo Estrada, former New York Met J.D. Davis had a sac fly that drove in Wade Jr. to tie the game at two apiece. Right after, Michael Conforto had a sac fly to drive in Thairo Estrada. That gave the Giants a 3-2 lead.

Something to note on the Thairo Estrada single is the mental mistake that Alcantara made and how that cost him the game. A couple of weeks back, we saw a bad throw to first from Alcantara, that seemed to have stuck in his mind and it ended up being a big factor as to why Miami lost that afternoon. Sandy made a horrid throw to first which then moved Wade Jr, to third and Estrada to second. That paved the way for both sac flies.

The nail in the coffin to Sandy’s start was a Mitch Haniger single, Mike Yastrzemski walk, and a Casey Schmitt RBI single to make it 4-2.

Going 5 23 innings, striking out five, walking three, and giving up four earned runs, the Marlins ace struggled towards the back end of his start, which has been a trend as of late.

The big difference for Sandy was the use of his pitch mix. He had been relying on his sinker this season as he throws it 27.7% of the time. Tonight, that was his least-used pitch as he shifted toward the four-seam fastball (43.0%), collecting four of his five strikeouts with it. The use of a different pitch mix could’ve been an adjustment to his slight dip in velocity and spin rate, which has been an issue in the past couple of starts for the Marlins ace.

Aside from the sixth inning, DeSclafani had everything working for him. Disco struck out six, walked two, and allowed two earned runs on five hits. Overall, the San Fran starter did not disappoint.

Late in the game, Bryan De La Cruz crushed a solo homer that left the bat at 102.0 MPH and went 403 feet into the air to pull the Marlins back within a run.

De La Cruz has been the Marlins best hitter as of late and is currently riding a 13-game hit streak. What an impressive turnaround it’s been considering how much he was struggling a couple of weeks back when he wasn’t even hitting close to the Mendoza line.

Both Skip Schumaker and Jacob Stallings were ejected in the bottom of the eighth after Bryan Hoeing issued a walk to J.D. Davis. Prior to the 3-2 pitch, Schumaker said the Marlins believed Davis should’ve been charged with a pitch clock violation (resulting in a strikeout). The umpires huddled up to discuss, but didn’t rule in the Marlins’ favor. Bryan Hoeing was able to pitch out of the inning without allowing any runs, but Luis Urueta and Nick Fortes had to complete the game in place of Schumaker and Stallings, respectively.

Miami was unable to add to the De La Cruz home run and fell in game one of the series by a final score of 4-3. This would mark the club’s second one-run loss of the season.

Manager Skip Schumaker Postgame Press Conference

The Fish are back at it on Saturday as Braxton Garrett takes the mound for the Marlins against Giants ace Logan Webb. First pitch is at 4:05 pm EST.