Alcantara gets 2nd start for Marlins in rubber match with Phillies
Alcantara (1-0, 1.80 ERA), set to face the visiting Philadelphia Phillies in the rubber game of a three-contest series, will be making just his second major league start.
Still, he doesn’t lack for confidence. The Dominican native with the golden right arm — his fastball has reached 102 mph — wasn’t too happy earlier this summer when he was still in New Orleans, which is Miami’s Triple-A affiliate.
“I have to wait for (the Marlins’) decision,” Alcantara said in Spanish at that time. “But I feel I should’ve been in the majors a long time ago. Sometimes it makes me mad. I attack hitters so that they know I should not be in the minors.”
Alcantara, 22, finally made his first major league start on June 29, beating the New York Mets while allowing three hits, five walks and one run in five innings.
Immediately following that game, however, Alcantara landed on the disabled list due an infection in the armpit area.
Now Alcantara will be matched up against Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta (7-10, 4.66 ERA), a 25-year-old native of Canada.
Pivetta took the road less traveled to the majors — from Canada to New Mexico Junior College and then the Washington Nationals, who drafted him in the first round in 2013.
Last year, Pivetta made his major league debut, flashing a high-powered fastball that averages 94.8 mph.
Pivetta has a 4.28 ERA in 16 home appearances this year, including 15 starts. On the road, Pivetta has been worse — a 5.19 ERA in 12 starts.
In six career starts against the Marlins, Pivetta is 2-1 with a 5.83 ERA.
The Phillies are counting on Pivetta because they gained a game on the first-place Atlanta Braves on Tuesday. The Phillies are now three games behind Atlanta in the National League East.
“We have a ton of confidence,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told philly.com.
Carlos Santana also homered and had two RBIs for the Phillies, and Jake Arrieta struck out a season-best 11 batters to earn his 10th win of the season.
Cabrera, acquired from the New York Mets on July 27, hit a two-run double and a solo homer. He has 23 homers this year — seven of them against Miami and five of those at Marlins Park. In fact, Cabrera has a home run in four straight games against the Marlins.
Hernandez, who went 2-for-3 with two walks, a single and the triple, snapped out of a slump — he had gone 1-for-18 in his past five games.
As for a hot Marlins hitter heading into Wednesday’s game, watch out for catcher J.T. Realmuto, who homered twice on Tuesday. He has 20 homers this season as a first-time All-Star.
Realmuto will also be in charge of guiding Alcantara from his crouch behind home plate.
“(Alcantara) throws hard, but they will hit you as you go up levels if that’s all you have,” New Orleans manager Arnie Beyeler said. “He needs to continue to develop his fastball command.”