After multiple false starts over the past three weeks, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ wayward offense might indeed be back on track heading into their three-game series against the visiting Miami Marlins.
The Dodgers enter Friday’s series opener coming off consecutive victories over the Seattle Mariners, the first time they have won back-to-back games since an eight-game winning streak from April 9-17.
During a recent run when they went 5-16, the Dodgers started to look like the offense that led baseball in home runs last season. But they have been here before.
During their recent downward trend, Los Angeles scored eight runs in a victory over the Cincinnati Reds on April 28, but the Dodgers followed that with one run in a loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Dodgers scored 16 runs in a May 2 victory at Milwaukee and followed that with one run in a defeat against the Chicago Cubs.
So when they scored 14 in a victory over the Los Angeles Angels on May 8, surely they were heading toward better things. Instead they scored just one run again in losing to the Angels the next day.
Now the Dodgers are on a run of 13 runs in two games, following Tuesday’s 6-4 victory over the Mariners with a 7-1 victory over Seattle on Wednesday that came in advance of Thursday’s day off.
“This is the team that we are. We really haven’t showed it at all the last couple of weeks,” said the Dodgers’ Max Muncy, who hit a home run and reached base four times Wednesday. “It’s been frustrating. It’s been a long couple weeks. But these two games can jumpstart us a little bit.”
Clayton Kershaw (5-3, 2.62 ERA) will pitch for Los Angeles in the opener. The left-hander has a 6-5 lifetime record in 13 career starts against the Marlins that is not representative of the 2.34 ERA he has against them in 84 2/3 innings.
The Marlins will counter with right-hander Sandy Alcantara (1-2, 2.72), who has given up two earned runs or less in six of his eight starts this season. Alcantara’s only start against the Dodgers came in 2019 at Dodger Stadium when he faced Kershaw and gave up six runs in five innings of a 10-6 Marlins defeat.
Alcantara, right-hander Pablo Lopez and left-hander Trevor Rogers have been a formidable starting trio for the Marlins, combining for a 2.55 ERA and 148 strikeouts over 137 2/3 innings. Rogers went six scoreless innings in Miami’s 5-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday, while Lopez is scheduled to pitch in Sunday’s series finale at Los Angeles.
The Marlins have won consecutive games after a four-game losing streak.
In his most recent outing Sunday at home against the Milwaukee Brewers, Alcantara gave up one run over seven innings, his second consecutive start where he allowed just one run. Admittedly, Alcantara was not at his best, but he made it through with a healthy dose of confidence.
“Sometimes you’re going to get in trouble, but you don’t have to worry about it,” Alcantara said. “You’ve got to pitch and throw it. I believe in my catcher, and I believe in myself, and I believe in my stuff. And I know when I’ve got my best stuff, they are in trouble.”
–Field Level Media