Bullpen the beneficiary of Alvarez's gem

Bullpen the beneficiary of Alvarez's gem

MIAMI -- There was still a buzz Sunday about the complete-game two-hitter that Henderson Alvarez threw Saturday night in a 7-0 Marlins win against the Mariners.

Alvarez's performance -- he needed just 90 pitches to complete the shutout, the fewest ever by a Marlins pitcher in a complete game -- certainly should be a confidence booster for him. It also was helpful for a Marlins bullpen that has struggled and could benefit from the rest afforded by Alvarez's gem.

"Of course, it was important," Marlins closer Steve Cishek said. "It's a long season, so any time a starter throws a complete game, it takes a lot of stress off us. Some of the guys needed a couple days off."

Cishek said he's not concerned about the bullpen's recent inability to hold leads.

"It's early in the season," the closer said. "Just got to work some stuff out. We have a great bullpen. Things will iron itself out. We did it last year and we're capable of doing it again this year. We'll be fine, I think."

Cishek also said that the Marlins' offensive output has been a good sign, particularly the current home run streak.

"Last year, we struggled with offense," Cishek said. "This year, we've put all that behind us. If we give up a couple of runs, we know [the hitters] are going to punch the other right back in the face and go after them. It's encouraging to see."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter