It’s time for the rematch between Bryce Elder and Sandy Alcantara, as the Atlanta Braves are rolling down to South Beach to take on the Miami Marlins for the start of a three-game series.
These two starting pitchers faced off last Wednesday and the game ended up being a bit of a wild one. The Marlins ended up finally being able to crack the Bryce Elder code, as Miami lifted off for three dingers against Elder over 5.1 innings for the 23-year-old hurler. Hitters had been making hard contact against Elder throughout each of his previous four starts, but only the Marlins were able to actually leave the yard against him. Elder was still able to get into the sixth inning despite getting knocked around, and the fact that he continued to eat innings while having his worst start of the season was a positive takeaway from that start.
The Braves will surely be hoping that Bryce Elder can get just as deep (or deeper) in the rematch while also finding a way to keep Miami from leaving the yard again. You’d like to think that last Wednesday was an outlier when it comes to the Marlins swinging the bat for power — they go into today’s action with the fifth-fewest homers in the National League (26. For comparison’s sake, Atlanta has 45 homers so far) and the fourth-lowest Isolated Power number (.132, Atlanta’s is .196) so maybe things could be different. The Marlins had a grand total of four extra-base hits during their most recent series against the Chicago Cubs and all four of those were doubles (they still swept Chicago, so there's that). Hopefully Elder can do his part to make sure that last Wednesday was an aberration.
Meanwhile, Atlanta will be getting their second look at Sandy Alcantara in as many weeks. The Braves did manage to put two runs on Alcantara’s line last week, as Ronald Acuña Jr. (who is currently day-to-day after getting hit by a pitch yesterday) went deep for a solo shot and then a Vaughn Grissom RBI single while Huascar Brazoban was on the mound was how Alcantara ended up being responsible for the second run. What was shocking was how Alcantara was removed from the game at the first sign of trouble — the fact that he was returning from a biceps injury may have played a factor and Marlins manager Skip Schumaker may have wanted to ease him into things, but you'd usually expect a Cy Young winner to be trusted to get out of the first jam he was in.
Either way, I'd imagine that he won't have as short of a leash this time around. Part of the reason why Sandy Alcantara won the NL Cy Young last season was because of the fact that he could get incredibly deep into games on a very consistent basis and he has yet to really do that here in 2023 with the consistency that you would expect from him. With that being said, he does have one complete game shutout under his belt this season and he's always capable of doing it, so it wouldn't be shocking if this was a tough night at the plate for the Braves against Alcantara.
It could very well be a tough night overall for the Braves. Even though Atlanta has routinely turned the stadium formerly known as Marlins Park into their own personal playground, the Marlins are currently on a four-game winning streak and this is as good of a start as they've had since 2016, which is when they started that season on a 16-13 run. Meanwhile, the Braves will still be rolling into town thinking that they need to make up for the nightmare ninth inning collapse that cost them a sweep against Miami last week. I don't foresee this being an easy game for Atlanta but this is still a very talented team that can win on any night, so let's just see what happens this evening.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, May 2, 6:40 p.m. ET
Location: loanDepot Park
TV: Bally Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan