Mets and Marlins showcase their new starting pitchers with high hopes

Sandy Alcantara pitches for the Marlins vs. the Mets on Thursday

The Marlins and Mets featured an intriguing pitching match up on Thursday Two extremely talented pitchers with brand new teams, both coming from completely different predicaments.

The Marlins are hoping for big things from Sandy Alcantara. The 22-year 'old flame' thrower was the key piece in the off-season trade of Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals, with his pitches having been clocked as high as 102 mph. He game up a run on 4 hits in a 3-2 Marlins win, but struck out two over 2 innings. He says he's excited for the high expectations, and for the huge opportunity this season.

"It's exciting because over at the Cardinals it would have been a battle for me to make the rotation," admits Alcantara. "Here I have a better opportunity, and a better chance at cracking the rotation."

Jason Vargas, meanwhile, got his first spring training start with the Mets after signing as a free agent a couple of weeks ago. Vargas played in last year's All Star game in Miami as a Royal, but was haunted by the long ball in the second half of the season. He gave up a solo home run to Garrett Cooper in his Mets debut, but doesn't feel any extra pressure playing for New York.

"I don't know if I want to do any better because I'm in New York City," says Vargas. "I just want to play baseball, and I want to play to the best of my abilities, and help give us a chance to win on my day.

The Marlins originally drafted Vargas with their 2nd round pick back in 2004.

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