A dubious rule — the one that requires every major league team to have at least one player at the annual All-Star Game — has certainly benefitted Miami Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara.
The Marlins’ lone representative at the game in Cleveland earlier this month, Alcantara is set to face the visiting Minnesota Twins on Wednesday sporting a 4-9 record and a 4.18 ERA.
In addition to those mediocre numbers, he seems to be getting worse as this season drags on for the Marlins.
Alcantara is 1-4 with a 4.75 ERA in his past eight starts. Since the All-Star Game, he has a 6.35 ERA in three starts, walking eight batters in 17 innings.
In his four wins this season, Alcantara has a brilliant 0.57 ERA. In his nine losses, his ERA is 6.52.
Meanwhile, the Twins, who lead the American League Central and beat the Marlins 2-1 in Tuesday’s opener of this three-game series, are set to start right-hander Jose Berrios on Wednesday.
Berrios (9-5, 2.94), a 25-year-old native of Puerto Rico, was Minnesota’s first-round pick in 2012 and has proven to be worth the investment.
He is one victory away from his third straight season with double figures in wins. In the past three seasons, he has a 35-24 record. His fastball touches 95 mph, and he has an excellent slow curve that misses bats and frustrates batters.
Berrios, a two-time All-Star (2018, 2019), has never faced the Marlins. Then again, Alcantara has never faced the Twins.
Road games have been a bit problematic for Berrios this season. He is 5-2 with a 2.10 ERA in nine home starts. But on the road, he is a mediocre 4-3 with a 3.62 ERA.
The Twins got great bullpen work on Tuesday and are looking for more of that on Wednesday, assuming Berrios does not get a complete game. On Tuesday, the Twins relievers pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings, including Tyler Duffey, who got four outs. Sergio Romo, acquired from the Marlins on Saturday, made his Twins debut by pitching a scoreless eighth inning. And Taylor Rogers pitched the ninth for his 16th save.
As for the offenses set to compete on Wednesday, Twins third baseman Miguel Sano — who had what turned out to be the game-winning RBI on Tuesday with a 112-mph double to the gap in left-center — continues his improved play. He was hitting .195 on June 27, but he has nine homers and 23 RBIs in his past 26 games.
“I find the pitches I want to hit,” Sano said when asked about his success. “That’s the mentality I have at the plate.”
The Marlins, meanwhile, may be without first baseman Garrett Cooper, who leads the team in batting average (.294) and has 11 homers and 38 RBIs. He left the game in the third inning due to tight left hamstring and was replaced at first by Neil Walker.
“It’s been bothering (Cooper) for a while it seems like,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
Miami, which has the worst record in the National League, is just 21-34 at home.
Conversely, the Twins lead the majors in road wins (34-20). Overall, the Twins have won four of their past five games.
–Field Level Media
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