The Miami Marlins haven’t had much of an answer this weekend for Francisco Lindor, the New York Mets’ star shortstop who has been energized by the presence of his mother at Citi Field.
On Sunday, though, the Marlins will get to send to the mound the pitcher who’s left big-league hitters flummoxed all season.
National League Cy Young Award contender Sandy Alcantara will try to stop the Marlins’ three-game losing streak Sunday afternoon, when he’s scheduled to start against the host Mets in the third game of a four-game series in New York.
The Mets have won the first two games of the series.
Alcantara (6-2, 1.68 ERA) is slated to oppose Chris Bassitt (5-4, 4.01 ERA) in a battle of right-handers.
Lindor homered for the second straight game Saturday, when his two-run shot in the third inning proved to be the difference in the Mets’ 3-2 victory.
Lindor, whose three-run homer in the first inning Friday sparked the Mets’ 10-4 win, will look to go deep in three consecutive games for the first time since he had four homers in a three-game span when he played for Cleveland from June 30 through July 2, 2018.
His hot streak this weekend has come with his mother, Maria Serrano, in attendance at Citi Field for the first time since Lindor was traded to the Mets prior to the 2021 season. Serrano’s trip was planned as a Father’s Day surprise by Lindor’s wife, Katia. Health issues have limited Serrano’s travel the past few years.
Told manager Buck Showalter said he hoped Serrano would stay for the remainder of the series, Lindor grinned.
“I want my Mom to stay, too,” Lindor said. “She brings the best out of me, for sure.”
This season’s brought out the best in Alcantara, whose previous start Monday qualified as a hiccup by his standards. He allowed two runs over 7 2/3 innings and didn’t factor into the decision in the Marlins’ 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
In his six starts prior to Monday, Alcantara allowed just three earned runs in 48 innings — the first time a pitcher’s allowed three earned runs or less over a six-start stretch spanning at least 48 innings since Jake Arrieta did so for the Chicago Cubs during his NL Cy Young Award-winning season in 2015.
Alcantara enters Sunday ranked second in the majors in ERA (1.68) and first in both innings pitched (91 1/3) and wins above replacement among pitchers (3.8).
“That guy is incredible, what he’s doing — it’s obviously fun to watch,” said Marlins pitcher Steven Okert, who relieved Alcantara on Monday and gave up the game-tying hit to Didi Gregorius.
Alcantara is 2-4 with a 2.82 ERA in 10 career starts against the Mets.
Bassitt snapped a six-start winless streak Tuesday when he allowed just three hits over eight scoreless innings as the Mets beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-0. It was the third time Bassitt has thrown at least eight scoreless innings in 106 big-league starts.
Bassitt has never opposed the Marlins — the only team, other than the Mets, he’s never faced in his eight-year career.
–Field Level Media