Marlins out to steal series from Dodgers

MLB

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who arrived in Miami on a nine-game winning streak, are suddenly slumping.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who has yet to announce his starting pitcher for Wednesday’s third game of a four-contest series against the Miami Marlins, will try to guide his team back to the win column after two losses in a row.

This is the Dodgers’ first losing streak of any length since dropping four in a row from June 21 to June 24.

“We had opportunities we couldn’t cash in,” Roberts said in reaction to Tuesday’s 2-1 loss in extra innings.

The Dodgers, who have in their lineup three hitters selected for next week’s All-Star Game, have scored a combined total of five runs in this series.

Those All-Stars — Mookie Betts, Max Muncy and Chris Taylor — likely will need to do more to get the Dodgers going. The same goes for Cody Bellinger, who was named the National League’s MVP in 2019, and Justin Turner, the MVP of the 2017 NL Championship Series.

Given those stars, it’s no surprise the Dodgers rank third in the majors in runs scored and are normally reliable on offense.

As for Taylor, it’s hard to say where he will play on Wednesday, but it’s safe to say Roberts will continue to maximize his talents. Taylor has started at six positions this year — second base, shortstop, third base and all three outfield spots.

The Marlins — who rank 28th in the majors in runs scored — have outplayed the Dodgers in this series. In fact, Miami is 3-2 against the Dodgers this year and 34-45 versus the rest of the majors.

But the Marlins, despite residing in last place in the National League East, have the best run differential in the division at plus-22. The Marlins are also 6-4 in their past 10 games, which is tied with the Philadelphia Phillies for the best record in the division during that span.

An advantage for the Marlins has been their speed and aggressive approach to running the bases, which is how they beat the Dodgers in 10 innings on Tuesday night. Marlins center fielder Starling Marte, who had stolen two bases earlier in the night, dashed to third on a wild pitch in the 10th inning and scored when Dodgers catcher Will Smith threw errantly.

“We run guys hard,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of his team’s approach. “I think our guys understand.”

In this series, the Marlins have stolen five bases in seven attempts. Marte has three steals in these two games, and he has not been caught.

For the season, the Marlins rank second in the NL with 59 steals. Marte leads the Marlins with 16 swipes in just 48 games. He stole a career high 47 bases in 2016 with the Pirates, but he had only 10 in 61 games last year.

Wednesday likely will be a bullpen day for both teams. But both teams used seven pitchers on Tuesday, making Wednesday’s game a bit of a challenge for two tired bullpens.

It’s possible the Dodgers will start right-hander Phil Bickford (0-0, 2.75 ERA) because he tossed just two pitches on Tuesday. Bickford has never started a big-league game.

Miami could start right-hander David Hess (2-0, 0.00 ERA) because he threw just 10 pitches on Tuesday. Hess hasn’t started a major-league game since 2019.

–Field Level Media

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