Rushing delivery, Alvarez able to settle, finish strong

Rushing delivery, Alvarez able to settle, finish strong

JUPITER, Fla. -- Henderson Alvarez stood alongside the National League All-Stars in 2014, but the Marlins right-hander isn't generally mentioned among the game's elite.

If he continues to progress like he has over the past two seasons, it will be only a matter of time before he gains more notoriety. On Wednesday, Alvarez matched up nicely with Mets ace Matt Harvey.

Outlook: Alvarez, SP, MIA

Alvarez gave up two runs in the first inning, but settled and made it through three innings at 44 pitches, with 29 for strikes. The right-hander also fanned four.

Harvey, meanwhile, gave up two runs in 2 2/3 innings with two strikeouts.

Miami rallied to a 7-4 win at Roger Dean Stadium, with Alvarez setting a tone after a slow start.

"I work hard every day," Alvarez said. "It would be an honor to even be mentioned in that group [of top starters].

Redmond on 7-4 win

I'm going to keep working hard to try to get up there with those guys."

In 2014, Alvarez did stand in elite company, finishing with a 2.65 ERA, which was sixth among qualifying NL starters. He added three complete games, which was tied for the sixth best in the NL. The Marlins haven't announced their Opening Day starter, but Alvarez is the likely choice.

A sign of a savvy starter is the ability to overcome a rough start and produce, and he did just that on Wednesday.

"I felt I was rushing," Alvarez said. "I was leaving pitches up. I was able to calm down after that. My problem was I was rushing my delivery and getting the pitches up high."

He rebounded by retiring six of seven after giving up two runs in the first inning.

"He missed up in the zone on a couple of balls," manager Mike Redmond said. "I think a couple of balls got caught up in the wind on him. But overall, I thought he pitched well. He threw some pretty good fastballs, and threw his changeup enough to keep them off balance."

Alvarez even floated in one of his signature super-slow curveballs. The right-hander is good for one or two an outing. He struck out Matt Reynolds swinging to lead off the game on a 62-mph curve.

"I feel comfortable with that pitch," Alvarez said. "I feel I can throw it in on any count. Even the fans like it. Everyone likes it."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.