Marlins shut down NL Cy favorite Alcantara

Righty throws CG in final start as his 228 2/3 IP are most in the Majors since 2016

October 2nd, 2022

MILWAUKEE -- Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara, the frontrunner for the National League Cy Young Award, will not make his scheduled start on Wednesday against the Braves at loanDepot park.

The regular-season finale could have postseason implications, with Atlanta entering Sunday with a one-game lead over the Mets in the NL East with four games remaining. Rather than turning to Alcantara, Miami likely will mix and match by relying on several multiple-inning relievers.

“We've been talking about it for a little bit as an organization, didn't really want to put anything out there, but we're going to shut him down,” manager Don Mattingly said. “Obviously, he's one of those guys who is going to keep going. But organizationally, [I] just felt like there was no reason to have him continue with the innings that he's thrown this year.

“Kind of expect a little bit of a blowback, if it's the last day and it's a big game or whatever for Atlanta or New York. We've got to take care of Sandy first. If it gets to that point, there's been 161 games to decide this thing. The last day is not our responsibility. We've got to do the best thing for Sandy, and we felt like this is it.”

In Friday’s 1-0 loss to the Brewers, Alcantara threw an eight-inning complete game to increase his season total to 228 2/3 frames -- the most in the Majors since 2016. Cardinals righty Miles Mikolas (199 1/3) is 29 1/3 innings behind Alcantara on that front. The last time a season ended with such a large gap between first and second was in 1979, when Phil Niekro was 49 2/3 frames above Dennis Martinez/J.R. Richard.

Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. said Alcantara was told of the decision on Saturday afternoon prior to Miami's 4-3 comeback win at American Family Field, where the Marlins have won two of a four-game set with the playoff-hopeful Brewers.

“We talked about it. We looked at it through a lot of different lenses, too,” Stottlemyre said. “It's a big decision to make, but for me a clear one. If we were going on to the playoffs, we'd be skipping that start getting ready for Game 1 of a playoff game, so that didn't happen.”

Once the announcement was made, the 27-year-old Alcantara followed up on Twitter.

"A little bit mad because I want to finish all my starts," Alcantara said. "They made that decision, I've got to respect that. I think everything that I've been doing, I think they know. I've been on the frontline, every time, every fifth day when I got the opportunity to go outside, and I gave my 100 percent all the time. They know I'm here to compete, and that's what I am."

Alcantara said he feels good at this point in the season.

"I think I've got more in my pocket," Alcantara said. "That's why I'm working so hard in the weight room. And the preparation that I've been having is great."

With his resume complete, has Alcantara done enough to secure the franchise’s first NL Cy Young Award?

His numbers are as follows:

14-9 record
2.28 ERA (second)
0.98 WHIP (fourth)
7.9 bWAR (first entering Saturday)
32 starts (first)
228 2/3 IP (first)
6 complete games (first)
178 ERA+ (second entering Saturday)
207 K (fourth)
2.99 FIP (sixth)
0.63 HR/9 (fifth)
8.15 K/9 (13th)
4.14 SO/W (eighth)

“Donnie and I and [general manager] Kim [Ng], we talked about it kind of where he is in the year, the fact that there's not going to be playoffs for us, innings have piled up, and he's done everything above and beyond, really for me,” Stottlemyre said. “We haven't talked a lot about the Cy Young thing. It hasn't been his main focus. It's to win games and still try to help the club win games, and obviously a byproduct of what he's done this year, and what he's meant to this organization, he's definitely turned a corner and put himself out there as one of the more prominent starting pitchers in baseball.

“I know he does want to pitch that last game, and I know there's probably a lot at stake with the Braves and stuff, but at this point, there's really nothing for him to gain. Personally, he's done enough to win the Cy Young, and certainly the innings – I think he's at [23] innings more than 2021. That's a byproduct of him being efficient and going deep in games, and there's times that we took him out where he'd had enough in our eyes, and you can't just ride him every game. So he's done his part, so we chose to not have him start the last game.”