The Marlins (18-22) avoided a three-game sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers (22-18) thanks to heroics from Adam Duvall. Miami salvaged the final game of the set behind solid pitching as well as Duvall’s blast and outfield assist. After two exceedingly frustrating games against the defending World Series champs, the Marlins managed to breakthrough versus the Dodgers.
This series furthered Miami’s road trip after splitting four games with the Arizona Diamondbacks. And the Marlins managed to stay connected in the NL East, too. Losses by each of the three teams above them allowed Miami to remain just 3.0 games back of the division lead. Win the upcoming series in Philadelphia and the team will be poised for a run through the summer.
Pitching Problems for Marlins vs Dodgers
Entering this series, the Marlins knew their work would be cut out for them. The Dodgers lined up their ace Clayton Kershaw as well as defending Cy Young award winner Trevor Bauer for the first two games of this set. And although Miami had their ace Sandy Alcantara going Friday, these games got away from them quickly.
LA roughed up Alcantara to tune of eight runs in just 1.1 innings of work. That outing stands as Alcantara’s worst of his career, his shortest and the most earned runs he’s ever allowed. His ERA swelled from 2.72 to 4.06 by the end of it.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Alcantara. He claimed to have the same mentality but admitted “everything changed too quick.” There was some concern with the Marlins that Alcantara might have been tipping his pitches to the Dodgers.
The Marlins offense did get to Kershaw, though. Miami touched him up for five runs over his six innings, but Kershaw registered 11 strikeouts along the way. Meanwhile, the story was very different against Bauer, who ripped through the Marlins lineup. Bauer recorded 10 strikeouts and allowed just two hits over 7.0 IP.
Miami entered this series averaging 10.3 strikeouts-per-game on the road. The Marlins fanned 33 times in Los Angeles over the three games.
Miami also got its first look at Braxton Garrett this season. The 23-year-old lefty came up to provide length in the bullpen versus the Dodgers. He went three innings, allowing three runs. Garrett made two starts for Miami in 2020, allowing six runs over 7.2 IP. There was some thought that Garrett was being held in reserve by the team as a potential trade chip later this summer.
Duvall Provides Marlins with ‘Jolt of Energy’ vs Dodgers
Following the team’s fifth shutout loss of the season, Miami’s stagnant offense needed a jolt, and that was provided by Adam Duvall. After connecting on a three-run homer off Kershaw Friday, Duvall lifted the Marlins to their first lead against the Dodgers with his fifth inning blast Sunday.
With the team mired in a collective slump, Duvall’s homer delivered. Marlins manager Don Mattingly said: “all of a sudden it’s a little jolt of energy.”
And it wasn’t just the homer that made a difference. In the bottom half of the fifth, Duvall helped preserve the lead for the Marlins when he threw out Dodgers OF Mookie Betts at the plate. That defensive gem added to Duvall’s league-leading Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) tally (11).
Although he’s suffered through some cold spells, Duvall has been an impactful player for the Marlins this season. Duvall’s 20 RBI lead MLB with runners-in-scoring-position-and-two-outs. His 1.630 OPS ranks fourth and he’s hitting .478 in that situation. Only Jesus Aguilar (.545, 2.051) sports better averages for Miami.
Duvall admitted after the game he tries to keep his approach simple, even in those high-leverage situations. He said his focus is “just to get a good pitch to hit and try to barrel the crap out of it.”
— Bally Sports Florida: Marlins (@BallyMarlins) May 16, 2021
Jazz Chisholm also provided another jolt with his return to the lineup against the Dodgers.
Chisholm went 2-for-5 in his return and scoring on Duvall’s home run. He also registered his eighth stolen base of the season, tying him for the NL lead in that category. Chisholm had missed 16 games while rehabbing a hamstring injury and only recently lost his place atop the NL SB leaderboard.
Up Next: at Philadelphia Phillies (21-20)
After dropping two-of-three to the Dodgers, the Marlins continue their 10-game trek to Philadelphia. The Phillies enter this series after a 4-5 road trip. They’ll be glad to be back in Citizens Bank Park where the team is 13-6 so far.
Much like the Marlins, Philadelphia is dealing with injuries up and down their roster. The Phillies saw Didi Gregorious, Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto sit out Sunday. This trio stands among those listed as day-to-day. Adam Haseley and Andrew Knapp are also day-to-day, whereas Archie Bradley, Matt Joyce and Roman Quinn are all on the 10-day IL.
Miami will face Zack Wheeler (3-2, 2.85) Tuesday. Wheeler’s posted a 2.10 ERA over his last four starts and has piled up 30 strikeouts over his last 30 IP. Wheeler sports a 8-3 career record versus the Marlins with 109 strikeouts over 101.1 IP. The Marlins are also likely to face Zach Eflin (2-2, 3.86) and Vince Velasquez (1-0, 3.68) in this series.
Over the last week, Philadelphia has a .258 batting average and .750 OPS. The pitching staff has a 3.81 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. The Phillies sport a much-improved bullpen from 2020. So far this season, Philly relievers has a combined 4.26 ERA with nine blown saves in 20 opportunities.
Jean Segura leads Philadelphia with a .320 batting average, while Harper leads in OPS .997. Rhys Hoskins leads with 19 extra base hits and 23 RBI.
Last season, the Marlins dominated Philadelphia, winning seven of 10 contests. This series comes at a pivotal point of the season for Miami. The Marlins stand 2.5 games behind the Phillies and 3.0 games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets (18-16). Miami will face only the Phillies (seven times) and Mets (three times) over the next 10 games.