In contention for a National League wild-card berth despite winning just three of 10 series in the second half, the Miami Marlins will search for more this weekend amid a challenging road matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Marlins just dropped two of three games at home against the Houston Astros, falling 12-5 on Wednesday after starter Jesus Luzardo gave up three home runs in a five-run first inning.
Looking for a better start in the series opener at Los Angeles on Friday, Miami will send reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara to the mound. Alcantara is a mere 5-10 in 24 starts this season, and his 4.09 ERA is his highest since his debut campaign in 2017, when he made just eight relief appearances for the St. Louis Cardinals.
In his most recent outing, though, on Saturday at home against the New York Yankees, Alcantara gave up just one run and struck out a season-high 10 in a complete-game victory. It was his second complete-game win in four starts, and he leads the major leagues with three complete games this season.
Alcantara owns a 1.69 ERA over his past four appearances, more in line with his track record.
“Where we’re at in the season, for him to do that, kind of the way our bullpen was as well, we were going to ride him,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said of Alcantara’s season-high, 116-pitch outing against the Yankees. “I didn’t know he’d go nine innings, complete game, but it was a really impressive outing at a time where our team needed it the most.”
Matchups with the Dodgers have not always turned out well for Alcantara. He is 1-3 with a 9.39 ERA lifetime against Los Angeles in five starts.
The Dodgers will counter with Tony Gonsolin (8-4, 4.24 ERA). The right-hander had one of his better outings of the season on Saturday, when he gave up one run on three hits over six innings in a win over the Colorado Rockies.
Gonsolin is on a three-start winning streak after going 1-2 with a 6.39 ERA in five July starts. He has faced the Marlins once, in 2021, when he tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings during a no-decision.
The Dodgers managed to extend their winning streak to a season-best 11 games on Thursday in a pitchers’ duel, finally getting an eighth-inning home run from Austin Barnes for a 1-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
The contest completed a three-game sweep of the National League Central-leading Brewers and gave the NL West-leading Dodgers a 15-1 record in August.
Barnes not only hit his first home run of the year, but the backup catcher had two of the Dodgers‘ four hits for his first multi-hit game of the season. He entered the game batting .123.
“I’ve always taken pride in not taking my offense over to the defense, but it’s been a grind this year. It’s been tough,” Barnes said. “A lot of (expletive) tough nights. But I’m feeling better lately and I’m just going to keep going.”
The Dodgers prepared to face the 2022 NL Cy Young Award winner on Friday by facing the 2021 winner on Thursday. Milwaukee right-hander Corbin Burnes gave up just two hits and two walks while striking out nine over seven scoreless innings.
—Field Level Media
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