After a pair of Cy Young Award winners guided the Los Angeles Dodgers to victories, the defending World Series champions will use a kitchen-sink strategy on Sunday when they bid for a sweep of the visiting Miami Marlins.
The Dodgers are planning on a bullpen day in the series finale, with right-hander Jimmy Nelson (1-1, 3.00 ERA) getting the start. The group should be fresh after Trevor Bauer pitched seven innings with 10 strikeouts in the Dodgers’ 7-0 victory over the Marlins on Saturday.
Los Angeles will have to move forward after shortstop Corey Seager sustained a fractured right hand following an errant pitch in the fifth inning Saturday.
“I think we’re all concerned about him and the extent of the injury,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Seager, who is hitting .265 this season, including a .391 batting average in his previous five games.
“Obviously you don’t want to lose any player for an extended period of time. As far as continuing to move forward, we have to and we did (Saturday). A lot of good things came from (Saturday).”
The Dodgers, who have won four consecutive games, will attempt to complete their first sweep of at least three games toppling the Colorado Rockies at home from April 13-15.
The last time the Dodgers went with a bullpen game, Edwin Uceta started and lasted two innings in major-league debut on April 30. The staff pitched well but the Dodgers fell 3-1 to the Milwaukee Brewers.
The bullpen was fresh that day as well after Bauer went the distance one day earlier, albeit in a loss. He gave up two runs on four hits over eight innings in a 2-1 defeat.
That was back when the Dodgers’ offense was struggling, far from their current production, which better resembles the championship team of a year ago. The Dodgers have scored 29 runs during their four-game win streak.
Uceta was recalled Saturday, but Nelson will get the nod for the series finale. Roberts is hoping for “two or three innings” from Nelson, who is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in two career starts against the Marlins.
Miami will turn to young standout right-hander Pablo Lopez (0-3, 3.07 ERA) on Sunday. Still looking for his first victory of 2021, Lopez has recorded 43 strikeouts in 44 innings over eight starts this season.
While Lopez has five starts this season in which he has allowed one earned run or less, he is coming off an outing at Arizona on Tuesday in which he surrendered six runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. He walked a season-high three and gave up one of his four home runs this season.
Five days earlier at Miami, Lopez held the Diamondbacks to one unearned run on three hits over five innings with six strikeouts. Marlins manager Don Mattingly said the 25-year old has become too reliant on his changeup.
“We got to get his blend back to where it’s more unpredictable,” Mattingly said. “It was a second time in a row facing that same team and that time, he chose to use the changeup more. He got a little bit more away from his four-seam.”
After back-to-back victories at Arizona, the Marlins have lost two in a row and six of their last eight games.
–Field Level Media