Miami Marlins ace right-hander Sandy Alcantara will be operating on five days of rest when he faces the visiting Cincinnati Reds on Saturday
That's important because in 48 career starts with five days of rest, Alcantara has a 3.41 ERA. But in 51 career starts on four days of rest, Alcantara's ERA is significantly better at 3.00.
This year, the difference is much greater, even though it's a small sample size.
In two starts with four days of rest, Alcantara is 1-0 with a sterling 1.04 ERA, pitching similarly to how he did last year when he was named the National League's Cy Young Award winner.
However, in three starts with five days of rest, Alcantara is 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA.
Against the Reds, Alcantara is 2-2 with a 2.03 ERA in six appearances, including four starts
In seven starts this season, he is 1-3 with a 4.53 ERA, with the lone win coming April 4. He is winless in his past five starts, but in his most recent outing, he allowed just two runs in 8 1/3 innings against the Cubs. Alcantara got a no-decision, but the Marlins went on to win 5-4 in 14 innings
"Great job by everyone," Alcantara said.
Meanwhile, lefty Nick Lodolo had been set to start for the Reds
However, following Cincinnati's 7-4 series-opening win over the Marlins on Friday, the Reds announced that Lodolo had been scratched with a sore left calf. No replacement was immediately named, but right-hander Levi Stoudt was scratched from his start for Triple-A Louisville on Friday and may fill in for Lodolo
As for the offenses in Saturday's game, Miami is playing without outfielder Avisail Garcia (back tightness) and first baseman Garrett Cooper (ear infection).
Fortunately for the Marlins, they have second baseman Luis Arraez, who leads the majors with a .386 batting average
Another interesting Marlins player to watch is rookie outfielder Peyton Burdick
Entering Friday, the 26-year-old Burdick had six doubles, four homers, 11 RBIs and a .685 OPS in 100 at-bats since debuting last season. On Friday, he homered.
Meanwhile, the Reds, who are coming off their first 100-loss season in 40 years, are not supposed to be a power-hitting squad
They entered this weekend ranked 28th out of 30 MLB teams in home runs with just 28. But the Reds slugged three homers Friday, including two by Jake Fraley
"Getting in scoring position when normally you wouldn't will put us in good position," Reds shortstop Kevin Newman said of the team's aggressive baserunning. "But the home runs will come.
The Reds, who are on a modest two-game win streak, are just 5-12 on the road. They are in a rebuilding effort, and it starts with second baseman Jonathan India, the National League Rookie of the Year in 2021
India, a South Florida native, starred in college for the Florida Gators, earning the SEC Player of the Year Award in 2018. He was the fifth overall pick that year.
This year, he played for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic, and he leads the Reds with an .863 OPS
India, though, has just three homers. Spencer Steer leads the Reds with five. and Fraley -- after hitting those two long balls Friday -- has four
"Who says we have to hit home runs?" Fraley said. "We just need to get runs across the plate."
--Field Level Media