The Los Angeles Dodgers are officially floundering. Don Mattingly’s bunch has dropped seven of the past ten games, most recently losing three of four at home to the San Francisco Giants, its third consecutive series loss. On Monday, the Miami Marlins come to town to begin a three-game set. L.A. has now slipped to 20-19 overall and sits now 4.5 games back behind the Giants in the division. This series is an imperative one for the Dodgers to dig deep because after the three games, L.A. heads out on a nine-game road trip to Arizona, New York and Philadelphia.
Miami’s season has been a very dramatic one as it reaches the quarter mark of the year. The Marlins started the year 5-1, then proceeded to drop eight in a row, which was then amalgamated with a recent stretch where they won nine of ten, including a series victory over the Dodgers. The two teams will now reunite for the second time in two weeks under very different circumstances. Miami has a sparkling 17-5 record in South Beach, but is a paltry 3-15 on the road after recently dropping three out of four in San Diego to begin a brutal 11-game west coast road trip.
The series opens Monday night in a matchup of two good starters with Dan Haren opposing Tom Koehler. Koehler has given up just five hits and no runs over his last two starts, spanning 15 innings. The first of those two was a dominated effort of 7-inning, 3-hit ball against these Dodgers. Things do ease up after that as they will draw 22-year-old Jacob Turner in game two, a guy who they dismantled in their recent matchup, and then an unknown Game Three starter due to the electrifying Jose Fernandez hitting the disabled list with an elbow strain, according to CBS Sports.
The key to the series will be holding the potent Miami offense in check. Contrary to what casual observers may believe, this offense is now much more than just Giancarlo Stanton. Last year, they were last in the majors in runs scored, and opponents often completely avoided pitching to the Herculean Stanton. Young players such as Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Derek Dietrich and Adeiny Hechavarria have all improved considerably, whereas veteran signees Casey McGehee, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Garrett Jones have all pulled their own weight as well. This is a very dangerous lineup from top to bottom, and the Dodgers will have their hands full without Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke or Hyun-Jin Ryu slated to pitch in the series.
The Dodgers’ series against the Marlins could be a lynchpin for the near future for this team. L.A. needs to get back on track before a daunting road trip they have coming up, and a 3-15 road team is the perfect opponent to have for that. Dodging Fernandez in the series has left the door wide open, and the entire Dodgers offense cannot let that opportunity be squandered. This team has put on some uninspired play of late aside from bits and pieces of the lineup. This is the time for them to truly step it up.
Commentary by Justin Hussong
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Los Angeles Dodgers