Dodgers’ destruction of Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara isn’t a fluke

This game that didn’t count for much, this midsummer game against another overmatched and underfunded opponent, was also a statement game.

The Dodgers didn’t just beat the Miami Marlins on Sunday at Dodger Stadium. They beat the best pitcher in baseball. They beat Sandy Alcantara.

And they didn’t just beat Alcantara. They absolutely pulverized him.

The Dodgers presented their most convincing evidence to date of why they should win the World Series this year, pole-axing Alcantara over the first 3 2/3 innings of a 10-3 victory.

The damage: six earned runs and 10 hits, including a home run by Cody Bellinger.

“A guy like this, you’re going to see in the postseason,” manager Dave Roberts said. “To beat a guy like that, this says a lot for how good we can be.”

The destruction of Alcantara wasn’t an aberration, the high-scoring display part of a season-long trend. The Dodgers are hitting good pitching. They are hitting the caliber of pitching they will face in the National League Division Series and beyond.

Three days earlier, they knocked out reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes in the sixth inning of a game in Milwaukee. They have beaten Dylan Cease, Carlos Rodón, Logan Webb and Joe Musgrove. They have two wins over Yu Darvish and three over Merrill Kelly.

Who knows whether the Dodgers can figure out their own pitching, but come the playoffs, they shouldn’t suddenly stop hitting like many of their previous teams.

Alcantara started the game with a 1.92 earned-run average that was the best in the majors. His 173 innings were also the most in baseball, the pitcher closest to him more than 25 innings behind.

The Dodgers abused him.

“I don’t know what happened,” Alcantara said.

Alcantara averaged only 14.2 pitches per inning before Sunday. The Dodgers made him throw 27 pitches in the first inning alone.

Will Smith’s single drove in Mookie Betts to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but equally destructive were lengthy at-bats by Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy. Freeman’s at-bat lasted 11 pitches, Muncy’s seven.

While Freeman’s and Muncy’s at-bats resulted in outs, they gave pause to the typically assertive Alcantara, who wondered whether he was tipping his pitches.

“I think they have a lot of stuff to look for something for pitchers,” Alcantara said of the Dodgers.

The Dodgers scored in each of the four innings Alcantara was in the game, Smith taking him out of his misery with a run-scoring, ground-rule double in the fourth.

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara talks with catcher Jacob Stallings during the third inning Sunday.

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara talks with catcher Jacob Stallings during the third inning Sunday.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

“You have to keep making pitches, and not only to one or two guys,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “That lineup makes you make pitches all the way down through. So there’s no breathing room. That’s how they get you, by a bulk attack. A good pitcher, you have to keep making pitches.”

To Mattingly’s point: The Dodgers’ homers came from the team’s No. 5 hitter, Muncy, and No. 9 hitter, Bellinger. The previously slumping Muncy has seven homers this month.

But what makes these Dodgers postseason threats are the hitters at the top of their lineup: Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freeman.

They hit good pitching.

“When you get in the playoffs, there’s only a couple guys on the team that hit good [stuff] all the time,” Mattingly said. “The [Max] Scherzers, [Jacob] deGroms of the world, there are only a few guys who can hit those guys.”

Mattingly, who previously managed the Dodgers, said the lineup of his former team reminds him of some of the high-powered New York Yankees teams for which he was the hitting coach in the mid-2000s.

“You’ve got to attack them,” Mattingly said. “You can’t pitch like you’re afraid. You’ve got to go get them out. You’ve got to get in the strike zone early, you’ve got to attack and get them out quick. You start messing around, they don’t chase, you get yourself in bad counts.”

That’s how the Mike Scioscia-managed Angels used to pitch to the Joe Torre-managed Yankees, according to Mattingly. The Angels eliminated the Yankees from the playoffs in 2002 and 2005.

The Dodgers' Cody Bellinger celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against the Marlins on Sunday.

The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against the Marlins on Sunday.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

“You get really good players, they know how you pitch them when guys don’t attack them,” Mattingly said. “When you attack them, it’s different. They have to respect the fact that you’re trying to throw strikes. You’ve got a better chance of getting some swings and putting them in bad spots. If you keep letting them off the hook and putting them in good counts, they’re going to kill you.”

In late July, the Marlins were swept at home by the New York Mets. Mattingly said he considers the Dodgers and the Mets to be the class of the NL.

If the Dodgers and Mets played a seven-game series in October, on which team would Mattingly place his money?

“Not allowed to bet in baseball,” Mattingly said with a laugh.

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