Marlins @ Dodgers May 14, 2021: Alcantara vs. Kershaw

The Dodgers (20-17) are back to their winning ways and have compiled a massive two game winning streak after sweeping the Seattle Mariners (18-20) (in a two game series). They now start a stretch of ten straight games, with the first seven being at home against the Marlins (17-20) this weekend, followed by the Diamondbacks (17-21) next week. Clayton Kershaw will take the mound tonight against Sandy Alcantara, as the team looks to start a legitimate winning streak.

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7:10 PM Los Angeles
SS Rojas RF Betts
1B Aguilar SS Seager (L)
RF Cooper 3B Turner
LF Duvall 1B Muncy (L)
3B Anderson CF Taylor
2B Díaz (L) 2B Lux (L)
C Wallach LF Pollock
CF Sierra (L) C Barnes
P Alcantara (R) P Kershaw (L)

Surprinsgly, after watching the Dodgers for the last few weeks, they still feature the third highest wRC+ in baseball at 113, the highest walk rate at 11.7%, and also own the fourth highest OPS at .754. That feels high considering their play of late, but they did also score sixteen runs in one game against the Brewers, and fourteen in another against the Angels which can single handedly make up for games of bleak offense. Regardless, they looked better in the last two games against the Mariners. All in all, this is a pretty standard lineup for the Dodgers. AJ Pollock is back in the lineup and starting in left field for the first time since last Friday against the Angels after a slight hamstring issue. Max Muncy is coming off another strong series, and is now slashing .308/.486/.808, with a 239 wRC+ over his last eight games and 35 plate appearances. Gavin Lux is also starting to hit, slashing .320/.346/.480 over his last six games and 26 plate appearances. Chris Taylor also features a .968 OPS and 170 wRC+ over his last twenty games and 83 plate appearances. That’s a significant sample size. As per usual, Austin Barnes will catch Kershaw.

Meanwhile, the Marlins have been dragged down by their offense, which is 22nd in OPS at .677, 21st in wRC+ at 92, and features the eighth highest strikeout rate in the league at 26.0%, paired with the fifth lowest walk rate at 7.7%. This gives them the second worst strikeout to walk ratio in the league. Jesus Aguilar has been solid for them, with a 162 wRC+, as has Miguel Rojas (129) and Corey Dickerson (129), however the left-handed Dickerson will sit tonight against Kershaw.

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Here’s how Kershaw and Alcantara matchup:

Kershaw went five innings on Saturday allowing no runs on two hits and one walk with five strikeouts. The team tried to give that game away, but ultimately held off to win 14-11 over the Angels. This was a solid outing coming off one of if not the worst start of his career, going just one inning against the Chicago Cubs. Among starters on the team, Kershaw is second in ERA at 2.62, behind only Trevor Bauer at 2.50, and features the lowest FIP on the team at 2.45. His 0.99 WHIP is very strong, yet is the highest of the four qualified Dodgers’ starters which says more about the strength of the rest of the staff.

Alcantara in his last start allowed one run on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts, while going seven innings against the Brewers. Among qualified starters, his 97.9 mph average fastball/sinker velocity is second in the league, trailing only Jacob deGrom (99.0). For his off-speed pitches, he features a changeup and a slider, which both also top 90 miles per hour. The Dodgers will be facing a lot of velocity tonight for as long as he’s in the game. On that note, he’s also gone at least six innings in seven of his eight starts thus far, going seven innings in two of his last three starts, allowing just four runs over his last twenty innings.

After Alcantara, the Marlins feature a solid bullpen, which has ranked sixth in ERA at 3.27, seventh in FIP at 3.54, and second in WHIP at 1.08. The Dodgers do not feature the same quality of relievers right now, ranking 25th in WHIP at 1.47, 19th in ERA at 3.97, and 17th in FIP at 4.06. I’m going to be honest, from watching this team those numbers feel generous. The Marlins’ bullpen features two old friends in Yimi Garcia and Dylan Floro, the latter of which is now a 2020 World Series Champion. Floro has actually been the best reliever on their team, featuring a 1.02 ERA and 1.97 FIP over 17.2 innings. The team could use Floro, but I understand the team moving him in the offseason for Alex Vesia. Ultimately this isn’t a franchise altering move, and it can’t get any worse than Yordan Alvarez for Josh Fields.

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I knew I could count on Chad to post this. Floro received his World Series ring today, and entirely deserves it for that amazing three pitch sequence against the red hot Randy Arozarena in game six of the World Series.

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Tons of updates with the team. Cody Bellinger is progressing towards his eventual return, while Zach McKinstry and David Price are much closer.

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First pitch is at 7:10 PM PST on SNLA.

About Allan Yamashige

Just a guy living in Southern California, having a good time writing about baseball. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about it rules. Thanks for reading!