Thursday, May 26, 2022

Appreciating The Complete Game

 BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

When you see them, they’re great to watch!

Unfortunately during the age of specialization where there are pitch counts, middle relievers, set-up men, and closers, The Complete Game feels somewhat extinct. 

Nowadays, we’re also seeing a lot more combined no-hitters.

In a ballpark where I once saw Henderson Alvarez no-hit the Detroit Tigers on September 29, 2013 on the final game of the season, there was some magic on Sunday, May 22, 2022.

This time it came from a front-line Miami Marlins starting pitcher. 

On November 28, 2021, the Marlins signed Sandy Alcantara to a contract extension worth $56 Million, breaking the record for the largest contract for a pitcher under team control with less than four years service time set by Carlos Martinez.

Alcantara’s fastball velocity generally sits between 93-98 miles per-hour, maxing out around 100 mph.

He uses both a four-seam fastball and a sinker, which possesses above average vertical and horizontal movement. His secondary pitches are the change up (89 mph, average velocity) slider (86 mph) and a curveball (82 mph).

On Sunday, all of the pitches were on display.

The Marlins were in desperate need of a win vs the Atlanta Braves as they lost the first two games of the weekend series by 5-3 and 4-3 scores.

Going into the game, Miami led MLB in one run losses with 13 which is three more than the second place Cubs.

Going into the game, Alcantara entered it with a 3-2 record, with a 2.49 ERA, 50 innings pitched, 20 walks and 42 strikeouts, yielding four homers in eight starts.

Miami’s main offensive production came from Brian Anderson and Jacob Stallings. Anderson and Stallings doubled singled and had RBIs each for the Marlins to earn a 4-3 win.

This time, the Marlins were on the right-side of a one-run decision.

But the man of the day was Alcantara (26), who threw a complete game, and limited the Braves to three unearned runs. He walked two and struck out seven for his fourth career complete game.

Atlanta star outfielder Ronald Acura Jr. had two of the hits against Alcantara extending his on base games streak to 29.

One of Alcantara’s unearned runs occurred in the fifth inning when Atlanta benefited from a three-base error by Jesus Sanchez, a mishandled fly ball.

In the ninth inning, Jesus Aguilar dropped a routing foul ball as he tried to squeeze his glove before the ball was in it. This led to a pair of unearned runs.

But the final out came from a familiar face that dawned the Marlins colors last season as Adam Duvall popped out to the catcher.

What made this game electric was Alcantara was the first one out of the dugout in the ninth inning as you could hear the energy from the crowd of 17,908.

When it was all said and done, Alcantara left the game with a 4-2 record as the Marlins hit the road for a nine day, eight game road trip this week that started with stops in Tampa, two games, three in Atlanta, and three more in Colorado.

But the true benefit Alcantara’s complete game was the fact that the bullpen had Sunday’s game, plus the off day on Monday, thus it had two days rest. 

What was once the norm, now is a luxury when it happens.

It was great to see again! 

I enjoyed it so much that it was the lead topic two days later on My 108 Stitches, Baseball Talk with Lou Landers, Eric Katz and Rick Curti which can be seen in this story.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com. You can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.

Also, you can find see his Broadcasts by Subscribing to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel at no cost.


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