Alcantara tosses 'A-plus stuff' vs. Phils

May 26th, 2021

MIAMI -- Despite going a season-high eight innings, Marlins right-hander wishes he could take one of his 93 pitches back in Tuesday night’s 2-0 loss to the Phillies at loanDepot park.

With a runner at first and two outs in the fourth, Rhys Hoskins sent Alcantara's 99.8 mph four-seamer -- the seventh pitch of his at-bat -- over the left-field wall for the decisive swing. Alcantara was trying to locate down and away with the fastball, but it leaked over the middle of the plate.

“I just wanted to finish him with heat,” said Alcantara, who retired the final 13 batters he faced after the long ball. “I think that's what I did a couple starts before when we faced the Phillies. But I think he made a great adjustment with my four-seamer. Like I said, I can't do nothing about it. Just got to keep getting better, and let's see what I can do next time."

Alcantara, who entered Tuesday giving up 0.9 homers a game, doesn’t often allow that kind of contact due to his velocity.

Some Statcast notes from the two-run shot:
• Hardest-thrown ball by Alcantara that has been taken deep in his career
• Third homer off the four-seamer in 2021; none in ‘20
• First homer by a right-handed batter against him this season

“It seems like every time we face Sandy it's A-plus stuff,” said Hoskins, who went 1-for-3. “We got a lot of quick outs tonight, but he's kind of fallen into that category where it's kind of hard to give a strike or try to work counts just by taking pitches. If you get a good pitch to hit in the beginning of the at-bat, you've got to have a go at it. He made a couple good pitches early. I fouled off a couple tough pitches, then I finally got one in the middle of the plate. And again, you can't miss those in the middle of the plate, especially with a guy of Sandy's caliber. And I didn't miss it."

Since recording just four outs and surrendering eight runs in the worst start of his career against the Dodgers on May 14, Alcantara has allowed just two runs over 14 frames -- all vs. the Phillies. The Marlins discovered that he was tipping pitches in that outing in L.A., so Alcantara watched video and made an adjustment.

On Tuesday, the 25-year-old righty was efficient, inducing 14 ground-ball outs; he entered with a 49% rate, which is already above MLB average (45.7%). The Phillies never had a runner in scoring position, and both hits came in the fourth. Had the Marlins not been down with his spot up in the eighth, Alcantara likely could’ve gone for his third career complete game.

“He's got a lot of weapons, his stuff's really good, so he's got the two-seamer if you're going to throw a bunch of righties up there,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He ends up kind of ‘Ground Ball City’ most of the time. He's got the four-seamer for the left-handers. Also the changeup now is becoming such a weapon. He's really starting to build up the curveball in, [and his] slider is usually pretty good.

“It kind of doesn't matter who walks up there. There's spots to go and he's got pitches to get there. It's just a matter of if he's executing that night and getting ahead in the count. He really puts you in a tough spot as a hitter, and he's one of those guys, you walk away that night -- if you get a hit -- you're feeling pretty good because his stuff is that good, and if he's executing, he puts you in a tough spot as a hitter because he's got so many weapons [that] move in different directions at different speeds. He's one of those guys that’s just a handful.”

Not only did the defeat snap Miami’s three-game winning streak and prevent the club (23-25) from reaching .500 for the first time since April 17, but second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. exited with a mild right ankle sprain, according to Mattingly, hours after the club placed third baseman Brian Anderson on the injured list.