Dodgers-Marlins: Impressive Young Pitchers to Keep Scoring Down

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 1:57 PM UTC

Tuesday, May. 15, 2018 1:57 PM UTC

The L.A. Dodgers were supposed to be the team to beat in the National League. Instead, they barely have more wins than the stripped-down Marlins. The teams meet in Miami for Game 2 of a series Wednesday night.

Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami MarlinsFree MLB Pick: Under (& Dodgers)Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Not much has gone right for the vastly disappointing Los Angeles Dodgers this season, but one positive has been rookie pitcher Walker Buehler. He takes the mound Wednesday night in Game 2 of Los Angeles’ series in Miami.

Isn’t baseball a funny game? Entering the season, the Dodgers were tied with the Houston Astros for the highest betting win total in the majors at 96.5. The Miami Marlins, who sold off their entire outfield (among others) in a fire sale this offseason, had the lowest total at just 64.5. Yet, entering Wednesday the Dodgers are barely ahead of Miami in the W column.

In fact, ZiPS gives Los Angeles just a 24.6 percent shot right now of making the playoffs after a preseason number of 92.2 percent. L.A. has only a 14 percent projection of winning the NL West for a sixth straight season. Injuries have certainly crushed this team, but a bunch of guys are underachieving. The Dodgers had no right being swept four games over the weekend at home by the putrid Cincinnati Reds. It was Cincy’s first four-game sweep in L.A. since 1976 and that not-exactly-great pitching staff held the Dodgers to just nine total runs. That sweep dropped the Dodgers to 16-24 entering this series, their worst record through 40 games since 1958, the teams’ first season in Los Angeles.

Theirs is some good news on the way as 50 percent of the Dodgers’ starting infield was set to return from the disabled list Tuesday: third baseman Justin Turner, who suffered a broken wrist this spring, and second baseman Logan Forsythe, who had been out since April 14 with a shoulder injury. Turner is the big one as he’s the heart-and-soul of the team who hit .322 with 21 homers, 71 RBIs and a .415 OBP in 130 games last year and also was a big-time producer in the playoffs.

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Video of #Dodgers Justin Turner being hit by a pitch during spring training. Video by me.

— Allison N. (@AllisonNow5) May 10, 2018

Probable Pitchers: Buehler vs. Smith

I previewed Buehler’s start for the Dodgers last Thursday vs. the Reds and recommended ‘under’ 7.5 runs. That worked out well as there were only five runs scored – although the Reds were sizable upset winners 4-1. Buehler (2-1, 1.64) allowed two runs and tied his career high with six innings, striking out eight and walking none for the first time. He retired 14 straight at one point but gave up three hits in a 35-pitch sixth inning, the last a two-out, two-run double by Scooter Gennett.

L.A. is being very cautious with Buehler so it’s likely the Dodgers don’t let him throw more than 100 pitches. He was at 93 vs. Cincinnati when pulled for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the sixth. Buehler’s 2018 debut was at home vs. the Marlins on April 23, shutting them out on four hits over five innings. J.T. Realmuto had two of the four hits.

Miami lefty Caleb Smith (2-4, 3.63) has allowed just four combined runs in his past four starts but is only 2-2 in them because the Marlins’ offense stinks. He’s Top 10 in the National League with 53 strikeouts and has surrendered just 30 hits in 39.2 innings for an opponents’ average of .204. The 19 walks are a bit high or else his WHIP would be much lower than 1.24.

This will be Smith’s first-ever look at the Dodgers as he has thrown only 58.1 combined MLB innings and 18.2 of those were last year in the AL with the Yankees. Interestingly, lefties his .292 off him compared to .162 for right-handers. Usually that’s flipped for a southpaw pitcher.

  • Dodgers are 18-8 in their last 26 road games vs. a left-handed starter.
  • Under is 3-0-1 in Dodgers last 4 road games vs. a left-handed starter.
  • Under is 6-1 in Marlins last 7 during game 2 of a series.

Buehler has been nothing but excellent, while Smith has a 2.38 ERA in four home starts this year. ‘Under’ was a winner for our last Buehler pick and we’ll stick with that Wednesday.

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