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MIA 1, LAD 2; Clock strikes midnight on Marlins’ bid for upset win

Luzardo pitched one of his best games in a Marlins uniform.

Jesus Luzardo #44 of the Miami Marlins reacts after the third out of the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The headline doesn’t quite work because this game was played in Los Angeles. Yes, it was around midnight back on the east coast when newly recalled Jerar Encarnación connected on a two-strike, two-out, run-scoring double to break up the scoreless tie and give the Marlins the lead. Different time zone, though.

Cut me some slack as I meander through my first game recap article of the month.

For nearly two hours of game action prior to Encarnación’s critical hit, Jesús Luzardo matched zeroes with All-Star Tyler Anderson. That’s no small feat considering the talent discrepancy between the Marlins and Dodgers starting lineups.

Since returning from the injured list, Luzardo has shown a newfound adoration for his changeup and Friday only reinforced that. The hard-throwing lefty used his offspeed pitch 39 times, by far the highest single-game total of his MLB career. He accumulated 13 of his 17 whiffs with the changeup, including several when facing fellow lefty Freddie Freeman.

Mookie Betts began the game by ambushing a first-pitch fastball and driving it to the left-center field wall for a double, but that would be the only Dodgers extra-base hit against Luzardo. For only the second time during his Marlins tenure, Luzardo recorded an out in the seventh inning. Adjusting for the quality of competition, this was arguably his best outing as a big leaguer.

The Marlins got their run in the top of the seventh. Jacob Stallings led off the inning with a well-hit double and Encarnación brought him home, barreling an Anderson changeup that didn’t drop as much as planned.

Steven Okert was tasked with preserving the 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the frame, inheriting a runner on first base (Justin Turner) but matching up against the bottom of the L.A. lineup with one out already recorded. After striking out Hanser Alberto, Okert allowed a scorching line drive to Trayce Thompson that was just beyond the reach of Jon Berti and rolled into the left-field corner. Encarnación got to the ball efficiently. Dodgers third base coach Dino Ebel made the aggressive decision to send Turner, anyway. The risk paid off because Encarnación’s throw missed cut-off man Miguel Rojas. There wasn’t even a play at the plate.

Outfield defense burned the Marlins again in the eighth. Brian Anderson attempted to catch Betts’ fly ball in right field, but his route allowed the ball to get behind him for a leadoff triple. As well as Dylan Floro has pitched recently, he could not wriggle out of that jam. Will Smith drove in Betts on a fielder’s choice a few batters later.

The Marlins have such a slim margin for error because of their own run production struggles. Aside from the Encarnación double, they went hitless in seven other at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Left-handed pitching in particular continues to be the team’s foil. Leaning heavily into platooning isn’t enough to fix it (Don Mattingly tried an all-right-handed lineup against Anderson). With about a quarter of the season remaining, Rojas’ regression in this department sticks out—he slashed .317/.399/.486 with the platoon advantage in 2021, but he’s at .221/.295/.302 in 2022.

Dating back to July, the Dodgers have won seven straight home games.

Don Mattingly’s Postgame Press Conference

Win Probability Chart - Marlins @ Dodgers
Win Probability Chart - Marlins @ Dodgers
Baseball Savant

Stylistically, Saturday’s probable starters Braxton Garrett and Dustin May couldn’t be much different. However, they are a close match in terms of age and MLB experience. May is making his return from Tommy John surgery, pitching for the Dodgers for the first time since May 1, 2021.

First pitch is at 9:10 p.m. ET.