Sandy Alcantara, Marlins aim for four-game sweep of Dodgers


The surprising four-game series between the reigning World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the host Miami Marlins is set to end on Thursday afternoon.

So far, the Marlins — who are in last place in the National League East — have been superior this week, ending the Dodgers’ nine-game win streak on Monday, defeating them in walk-off fashion on Tuesday and walking off the Dodgers again on Wednesday.

“No matter what it says on paper, you still have to play the game,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said. “We’re not doing the little things right, and we are paying for our mistakes.”

Thursday’s series finale promises a strong pitching matchup between Dodgers lefty Julio Urias (10-3, 3.81 ERA) and Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara (5-7, 2.96 ERA).

Urias, who made his major league debut in 2016, is having a career year in terms of wins. His previous high was five in 2016.

The Dodgers are 13-4 this year when Urias starts. He has never pitched in Miami, and he hasn’t faced the Marlins this year. Urias lost his lone career outing against them, having allowed seven runs (six earned) in 2 1/3 innings on May 20, 2017.

For his career, Urias has been remarkably consistent at home (10-4, 3.37 ERA) or on the road (12-6, 3.39 ERA).

Alcantara, meanwhile, is 0-1 with a 19.89 in two career appearances against the Dodgers, both starts.

The Marlins are 8-10 this year when Alcantara starts, and that includes a 9-6 loss at Los Angeles on May 14. Alcantara got just four outs in that game, allowing seven hits, two walks and eight runs. The big blow was a three-run homer by Max Muncy.

July has been Alcantara’s worst month in terms of career ERA (4.95). In every other month, his ERA is below 4.00.

This year, Alcantara has been better with backup catcher Sandy Leon (1.61 ERA in five games) than with starter Jorge Alfaro (2.67 ERA in 10 games). In addition, it bodes well for Alcantara that the Thursday contest is a matinee since he has been better in seven games during the day (3-2, 1.51 ERA) than in 11 games at night (2-5, 4.02 ERA).

Then again, Urias also has a better ERA during the day (2.91) than at night (3.57).

The Marlins, who beat the Dodgers 9-6 on Wednesday on Jesus Aguilar’s three-run, ninth-inning homer, are 4-1 since losing to the Atlanta Braves 1-0 on Friday. Marlins starter Pablo Lopez was ejected just one pitch into that game after hitting Ronald Acuna Jr. with a pitch.

After that pitch, Miami’s relievers had to eat up the innings missed by Lopez, and that issue had a ripple effect, causing the Marlins bullpen to become overworked.

Despite that fact, Miami’s bullpen has been brilliant since that point, posting a stellar 2.61 ERA in 31 innings.

The Marlins are now 4-2 against the Dodgers this year, with one game left in the season series.

Aguilar has 14 homers this season — all of them on the road before Wednesday.

“I can’t explain why,” Aguilar said. “It’s mostly mental.”

–Field Level Media

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