Alcantara reaches preseason goal of 200 IP

Righty becomes 1st Marlin to toss 200 innings since Mark Buehrle in 2012

September 26th, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG -- Seven months ago, when Marlins pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training, stated that his goal was to reach 200 innings in a season for the first time in his career.

Miami’s ace accomplished the milestone by retiring Austin Meadows via a groundout to open the sixth inning of Saturday night’s 7-3 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field. It marked the 22nd time (done by 15 pitchers) the feat had been accomplished in franchise history, most recently by Mark Buehrle in 2012 during the inaugural campaign for the rebranded Marlins. Alcantara is the first right-hander to do so since Josh Johnson in ‘09.

“I think there are a lot of things going on right now,” Alcantara said. “I lost my mom, threw 200 innings. I feel bad. I feel happy. I feel a little sad. But at the end of the day, I've just got to keep doing my job, keep coming here, enjoy my teammates, have fun together and compete every time.”

Here is a breakdown of how Alcantara has gotten to 200 2/3 innings through a career-high-tying 32 starts in 2021:

9 innings: 1
8+ IP: 6
7+ IP: 6
6+ IP: 13
5+ IP: 2
4+ IP: 1
3+ IP: 2
1+ IP: 1

Those 32 starts are tied with three others for the most in the Majors. His innings total is second most behind Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler, who is a National League Cy Young Award candidate.

“I think it's a goal, because he wants to be out there for this team,” manager Don Mattingly said. “He's out there [and] he's thinking nine all the time. He doesn't like coming out of games. It's just a continuation of his growth. I think it's a mark for guys from the standpoint of being out there for your club and showing that you could be healthy every time out.”

The 26-year-old Alcantara allowed five runs (three earned) to the Rays, who clinched the American League East title, across six-plus innings. He gave up at least one run in four straight frames, beginning in the fourth on Joey Wendle’s RBI double. Mike Zunino knocked a two-run homer in the fifth, and the Rays added another run in the sixth on Yandy Díaz’s RBI single. They chased Alcantara after Brandon Lowe’s RBI double with no outs in the seventh.

Saturday marked just the sixth time this season Alcantara has surrendered at least five runs, though two were unearned due to a pair of fielding errors. The nine hits were tied for the second most against him in 2021. When these two clubs played on Opening Day, Alcantara held the Rays scoreless over six frames.

“I thought he was good,” Mattingly said. “You can tell he was fired up for this outing. They were trying to attack him early. They didn't want to get to two strikes, and then tried to jump him early, which could be I guess in either [team's] favor. It kind of fell in ours, I felt like, because he was getting fairly quick outs. His pitch count was down. They kept scratching for those runs. They'd get one and then get another one.”

With one start to go, Alcantara is approaching another impressive feat: He is five strikeouts away from becoming the seventh Marlin to fan 200 batters in a season. The late José Fernández most recently reached that benchmark, with 253 K’s in 2016.

Alcantara’s season finale likely will come next weekend against the Phillies, who are battling the Braves for the NL East crown. Aside from his personal goal, Alcantara hopes to play spoiler. He is 1-2 with a 2.65 ERA in three starts against the Phillies this season.

“I just want to keep doing my job, and keep getting better and keep my routine and just finish strong,” Alcantara said. “I think we've got Philadelphia three games at home. Let's win those three games, because they're going to need it and we want to take it.”