Dodgers @ Marlins September 5, 2023: Kershaw day to begin the final east coast road trip of the regular season

(Photo: Stacie Wheeler)

It’s weird to get back into a baseball mood after the Julio Urias news from yesterday, but following their off day the Dodgers are back in action to open up their final east coast trip of the regular season. The weekend series against Atlanta was rough, but the Dodgers managed to avoid the sweep behind a strong Bobby Miller performance on Sunday. The Dodgers are still 84-52 and 14 games up in the West, so that’s not really in question at this point. However, they fell six games behind Atlanta for the one seed in the NL.

Today, they open up a six game road trip against two NL East teams, starting with the Marlins. At 70-67, Miami is currently a half game out of the final Wild Card spot (which Arizona and Cincinnati are tied for). They’re on a four game winning streak, as they swept the Nationals over the long weekend. They’d lost 10 of their previous 13 games, including dropping two of three at Dodger Stadium in mid-August. Miami won the opener of that series and snapped the Dodgers’ 11-game winning streak with an 11-3 win, in what would end up being Tony Gonsolin‘s final start before undergoing Tommy John surgery. The Dodgers bounced back to take the final two games of the series, winning both games 3-1.

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3:40 PM Miami
RF Betts 2B Arraez (L)
1B Freeman (L) DH Soler
DH Smith 1B Bell (S)
2B Rosario RF Sanchez (L)
3B Hernández 3B Burger
LF Taylor RF De La Cruz
CF Outman (L) CF Chisholm Jr. (L)
SS Rojas SS Hampson
C Barnes C Fortes
P Kershaw (L) P Luzardo (L)

Clayton Kershaw makes his 21st start of the season and his fifth since returning from the IL. His four starts since returning have been eerily similar. He’s gone five innings in three of the four (with the exception being that weird ass rain delay in Cleveland that cut his start to two innings) and allowed exactly one run in each of the four starts. Each of the four runs have come on solo homers, and in each of his non-rain-delayed starts he’s allowed exactly three hits in those five innings. Last time out against Arizona, Kershaw struggled with his command and matched his season-high with three walks. However, he did strike out five and did what the elite pitchers do, find a way to turn in a solid start despite not having his best stuff. Kershaw hasn’t pitched in Miami since 2019, when he allowed two hits over seven shutout innings with 10 strikeouts.

Formerly highly touted prospect Jesus Luzardo makes the start for the Marlins tonight. Luzardo was a former A’s top prospect (and number 12 overall on Pipeline in 2020), but struggled for a couple seasons to start his career. Oakland traded him for Starling Marte around the 2021 deadline, and since closing out 2021 with a 6.44 ERA in Miami, Luzardo has been pretty excellent. Last season, Luzardo missed nearly three months with a forearm strain. When he was healthy, Luzardo made 18 starts and posted a 3.32 ERA/3.12 FIP and struck out 120 batters in 100 1/3 innings. That included a loss against the Dodgers where Luzardo allowed a run on four hits in 6 1/3 innings, but was outdueled by Tyler Anderson. Luzardo’s had a slightly tougher time this season, but still has a solid 3.62 ERA/3.73 FIP in 149 1/3 innings. His 175 strikeouts are the 14th-most among qualified starters in baseball and while his 28.3 strikeout rate is lower than last season (30 percent), it’s still the seventh-highest in baseball.

Luzardo entered August with a 3.17 ERA, but had a rough start to the month. In his first three months in August, Luzardo threw 12 1/3 innings and allowed 16 earned runs. He allowed eight homers in those three games (and was facing a couple tough offenses in Texas and Houston). Luzardo turned it around at the end of the month with two fantastic starts against San Diego and Tampa Bay. In those two starts, Luzardo allowed three total hits and struck out 15 in 12 shutout innings. Luzardo does it with basically a three-pitch mix. He throws a fastball 45.5 percent of the time, and its average 96.8 MPH is the 13th-highest among pitchers that have thrown 1000 or more pitches this season (is that the best way to filter out relievers from Savant?). Luzardo also throws a slider 28.3 percent of the time and it has a 51 percent whiff rate. He’s thrown a changeup 21.5 percent of the time (mostly to righties), and has had some fastballs registered as sinkers and cutters on Savant.

Max Muncy remains out of the lineup after leaving Sunday’s game with a shoulder issue. Muncy swung the bat and felt fine after today, so hopefully this isn’t a classic Dodger leave him on the bench for nine days before IL’ing him situation. Enrique Hernandez starts at third and Austin Barnes starts behind the plate with Will Smith serving as the DH. The Dodgers also have to deal with Jake Burger again. Burger hit three homers in two games at Dodger Stadium as a member of the White Sox back in June.


J.D. Martinez is beginning his rehab assignment.

He’ll DH and bat third in his first game action since August 19, when the Dodgers finally placed him on the IL with mysterious groin issues.

Walker Buehler had his first rehab start on Sunday.

Buehler struck out two batters in two perfect innings on Sunday. He threw 24 pitches (15 strikes) and will pitch again on Friday for OKC.


Each team had a TBA pitching spot in this series. Edward Cabrera is in the clubhouse and seems to be the likely starter tomorrow against Lance Lynn. Urias was slated to start the finale for the Dodgers, but that’s now TBD.

If and when Urias is placed on administrative leave, a roster spot will open up for another arm. On an Emmet Sheehan is still with the team and could get the start after a solid four-inning outing against Atlanta on Saturday.


First pitch is scheduled for 3:40 PM PT and will be shown on SportNet LA.

About Alex Campos

I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.