Marlins 3, Dodgers 2: The last few healthy guys struggle to score

Mookie jumping over catcher

Playing without Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor (and I could keep going but won’t), the Dodgers’ offense struggled to come up with much Sunday afternoon.

The heavily OKC-influenced lineup scored two in the 2nd inning, and the bullpen kept the Marlins quiet for much of the day, but a three-run homer for Adam Duvall in the 5th was all they needed for the 3-2 win.

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The Dodgers put two on against Pablo Lopez in the first, with singles by Max Muncy and Matt Beaty, but a fly out by Gavin Lux ended the early scoring threat. Thankfully the bottom of the order cashed in a few in the 2nd against Lopez, with Sheldon Neuse getting it started by smoking a ball to right-center for a double. Austin Barnes followed with a double of his own three pitches later, sending a changeup off the wall to score Neuse. After Alex Vesia struck out on three fastballs in his second plate appearance since high school, Mookie Betts brought in Barnes with a single to take a 2-0 lead.

Attempting to be positive, all things considered it was a pretty strong day for the Dodgers’ pitching staff.

Jimmy Nelson worked out of a little trouble in the first inning as he opened the day for the Dodgers. Allowing a one-out double, Nelson then let the runner reach third with a wild pitch. After getting a foul out, Nelson faced off with Duvall. A slider and curve left Nelson behind 2-0, but a slider and a high four-seamer that Duvall swung through evened it up. Duvall worked the count full, but was caught looking at a high slider for strike three. Of course that was a 22-pitch inning, so coupled with a pair of second-inning walks, Nelson worked just 1 2/3 innings against the Marlins before giving way to Vesia.

Facing his former team, Vesia’s third outing as a Dodger started off with a strikeout of Lopez (albeit after going to a full count against the opposing pitcher). While the command was a little erratic at times, Vesia did strike out two more around a walk. Throwing 17 four-seamers in his 20 pitches, Vesia hung around 93 mph before he concluded his day with the Dodgers bringing in Dennis Santana, who got four outs and successfully worked through the 4th.

Edwin Uceta entered in the 5th as the fourth pitcher of the day for the Dodgers’ bullpen game, making his third appearance of the season. The 23-year-old ran into some trouble right away, with Lopez reaching on an error by Neuse and Jazz Chisholm singling up the middle to begin the inning. A strikeout of Garrett Cooper and a weak comebacker by Corey Dickerson made it briefly look like Uceta would escape, but a high sinker over the plate to Duvall put the Dodgers behind by one.

Uceta’s 54 pitches were almost entirely sinker (48%) and change (44%), with four curves mixed in. The sinker sat around 93 while touching 94.7 mph, and the change maxed at 89 with an average of 87.3. Some of the contact Uceta gave up that didn’t land for a hit was still pretty hard, namely a 107.3 line out by Cooper, and the average landed at 90.7 as he gave up four of the seven hardest hit balls in the game. But all in all, it did seem pretty crucial to make it through three frames when the Dodgers truly needed it.

Looking to answer right back, Betts doubled to open the 5th for the first hit for the team since his own RBI single. After consecutive popouts, Beaty sent a two-out single to right field where Duvall capped off a pretty strong inning with this throw to keep the Marlins in front.

Joe Kelly took over in the 8th, retiring the side in order with 13 pitches, and Mitch White entered in the 9th for a 1-2-3 inning aided by a great play from Lux to get Chisholm.

Facing old friend and World Series hero Dylan Floro in the 8th, the Dodgers had another look at tying the game or taking the lead. Two-out singles by Beaty and Lux put Luke Raley at the plate with the tying run in scoring position, but Floro elevated a fastball that Raley missed for strike three and the inning came to an end.

Yet another old friend, Yimi Garcia, entered in the 9th to close out the game for the Marlins. Neuse sent a ball 359 feet to start the inning, but it was a harmless fly out to center. Barnes rolled a ball up the middle for an infield single, allowing Will Smith to hit with a man on. However, Smith struck out on a 3-2 fastball and Betts grounded out to third to wrap up the loss.

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Now 22-18, the Dodgers open a four-game series at Dodger Stadium with the Arizona Diamondbacks (18-23) on Monday. It’ll be Walker Buehler for the Dodgers, entering with a 3.45 ERA/3.62 FIP/2.98 xFIP and coming off of his 7-inning appearance in Seattle in which he allowed four hits and four runs while striking out 8.

Arizona will have Madison Bumgarner on the mound with a 4.12 ERA/3.40 FIP/4.00 xFIP. He struck out 9 in 7 scoreless innings against the Marlins earlier this week, but will apparently run into an old nemesis?

I have a very vague recollection of this happening, but sure why not try it.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree. He now works for the university’s athletics department after spending seven years with the local newspaper.