Red Sox hoping to cool off Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara

MLB Baseball

Miami right-hander Sandy Alcantara hopes to build off his last two starts while Boston southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez aims to close out a rough month on a high note as Boston hosts Miami to complete a three-game series Sunday.

Alcantara (2-4, 3.46 ERA) will be tasked with helping the Marlins avoid a three-game series sweep against the Red Sox. Boston beat Miami 3-1 on Saturday after earning a 5-2 victory in a rain-shortened, six-inning game Friday.

The 25-year-old tossed a season-high eight innings in his last start on Tuesday against Philadelphia. However, Alcantara took the loss after allowing just two hits — one of them being a two-run homer by Rhys Hoskins — in the Marlins’ 2-0 setback.

Alcantara has allowed just two runs in his last 14 innings and has held opponents to two runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts.

“He really puts you in a tough spot as a hitter, and he’s one of those guys, you walk away that night — if you get a hit — you’re feeling pretty good because his stuff is that good,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said.

Alcantara lasted six innings in his lone career start against the Red Sox last Sept. 15. He allowed one run on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts, but took the hard-luck loss in Boston’s 2-0 victory. Xander Bogaerts is 2-for-3 and Marwin Gonzalez is 1-for-3 with a double lifetime against Alcantara.

The Red Sox will be looking for a bounce-back effort for Rodriguez (5-3, 5.06 ERA) after a tough string of starts for a pitcher that manager Alex Cora labeled the team’s “ace” earlier this season.

Rodriguez has surrendered four or more runs in four of his last five starts after allowing three or fewer in his first four starts in 2021. The 28-year-old southpaw has gone 1-3 and pitched to a 6.48 ERA over his five starts in May.

Despite being four games under .500, facing the Marlins may not be a welcomed sight for Rodriguez as he struggled in his lone career start against them. A then-rookie Rodriguez allowed eight runs on nine hits over five innings in Boston’s 14-6 loss to Miami on Aug. 12, 2015.

None of the five current Marlins who have faced Rodriguez have recorded a hit against him, going a combined 0-for-9.

Cora is also hoping to hit the ground running as he returns to the team after attending his daughter’s high school graduation in his native Puerto Rico on Saturday. Bench coach Will Venable filled in on Saturday for Cora, who is expected back in time for Sunday’s finale.

“Outside the inning in Minnesota when Alex got thrown out, zero experience,” Venable joked when asked about his familiarity with managing in the majors. “Alex left us in a good spot. Alex has done a great job this whole season of kind of delegating.”

Boston has won seven of its last nine games entering Sunday’s finale. Meanwhile, Miami has dropped three straight games and four of five overall.

-Field Level Media

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