The destruction of Sandy Alcantara by the Dodgers is no accident.  This team can hit a good shot

The destruction of Sandy Alcantara by the Dodgers is no accident. This team can hit a good shot

From left to right, Trayce Thompson of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cody Bellinger.

Dodgers outfielders, from left, Trayce Thompson, Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts celebrate a 10-3 victory over the Miami Marlins Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. (Marcio José Sanchez / Associated Press)

This game that didn’t count for much, this summer game against another outgrown and underfunded opponent, was also a game of affirmation.

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

And they didn’t just win Alcântara. They absolutely pulverized him.

The Dodgers presented their most convincing evidence yet of why they should win the World Series this year, hitting pole at Alcantara in the first 3 2/3 innings of a 10-3 win.

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

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

The destruction of Alcântara was no aberration, the high-scoring display part of a season-long trend. The Dodgers are making a good pitch. They are hitting the shooting caliber they will face in the National League Division Series and beyond.

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

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

Alcântara started the game with an average of 1.92 races won, which was the best of the main ones. His 173 innings were also the most in baseball, the pitcher closest to him over 25 innings behind.

The Dodgers abused him.

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

Alcantara averaged just 14.2 shots per inning before Sunday. The Dodgers had him throw 27 shots in the first inning alone.

Will Smith’s single led Mookie Betts to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the first round, but equally destructive were Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy’s long hits. Freeman’s hit spanned 11 pitches, Muncy’s seven.

While Freeman and Muncy’s hits resulted in eliminations, they gave pause for the typically assertive Alcantara, who wondered if he was dropping his pitches.

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

The Dodgers scored in each of the four innings that Alcântara was in the game, Smith lifting him out of his misery with a one-two in the fourth.

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara talks to catcher Jacob Stallings during Sunday's third inning.

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara talks to catcher Jacob Stallings during Sunday’s third inning. (Marcio José Sanchez / Associated Press)

“You have to keep shooting, and not just to one or two guys,” said Marlins manager Don Mattingly. “This lineup makes you throw shots all the way. So there’s no room to breathe. That’s how they get you, by a mass attack. A good pitcher, you have to keep pitching.”

To Mattingly’s point: The Dodgers’ homers came from the team’s #5 hitter, Muncy, and the team’s #9 hitter, Bellinger. The previously decadent Muncy has seven homers this month.

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

They hit a good shot.

“When you get to the playoffs, there are only a few guys on the team who hit well. [stuff] all the time,” Mattingly said. “O [Max] Scherzer, [Jacob] deGroms in the world, there are only a few guys who can hit these guys.”

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

“You have to attack them,” Mattingly said. “You can’t cast like you’re scared. You have to go get them. You have to get into the attack zone early, you have to attack and take them out quickly. You start playing, they don’t chase, you get bad scores.”

This is how the Angels, led by Mike Scioscia, used to pitch to the Yankees, led by Joe Torre, according to Mattingly. The Angels eliminated the Yankees from the playoffs in 2002 and 2005.

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

Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against the Marlins on Sunday. (Marcio José Sanchez / Associated Press)

“You have really good players, they know how you pitch them when the 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 hit them. You have a better chance of getting some swings and putting them in bad spots. If you keep letting them off the hook and putting them on good scores, they will kill you.”

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

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

“It’s not allowed to bet on baseball,” Mattingly said with a laugh.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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