MIAMI -- The velocity startled even his manager.
In the Marlins' 2-0 win over the Pirates on Friday night, Henderson Alvarez blew a 98-mph fastball by Gaby Sanchez to end the second inning.
The strikeout came with a runner in scoring position, but it also was the hardest fastball the right-hander has thrown this season.
"It kind of set me back a little bit that he had that in there," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "I hadn't seen that in there. I saw him in Spring Training turning it loose at 93, and even during the season at 93. But he had a little extra bounce in his step last night. That was fun to watch."
Catcher Jeff Mathis said he had seen Alvarez throw hard last year at Toronto. In the first inning, the right-hander was bringing 97-mph heaters on a regular basis.
Alvarez is the third Marlins starting pitcher this season to reach at least 98 mph. He joins Jose Fernandez and Nathan Eovaldi, who has maxed at 99 mph this year.
Not since the days of A.J. Burnett, Josh Beckett and Brad Penny have the Marlins had three right-handers bringing fastballs a click or two under 100 mph.
"A.J., Brad Penny and Josh Beckett ... I caught them all," Redmond said.
The young Miami staff has excelled all season, and especially of late. Redmond senses the pitchers are feeding off each other.
"I think what we've got here and what we've created is great, friendly competition with all these guys," Redmond said. "You saw that with Alvarez. This guy, he doesn't want to be in the shadows of these young guys. He wants to be talked about just like they are. He was like, 'Hey, I want to make a statement against the best team in the league.'"