After completing a four-game sweep of the Washington Nationals over the weekend, the slugging Marlins returned home for a three-game set with the lethal Los Angeles Dodgers. A four home run performance to go along with a great Jesus Luzardo start helped Miami improve to 71-67 with a 6-3 win.
On the mound for Miami was left-hander Jesus Luzardo, who has found his groove late in the season. Following three brutal starts to begin August (11.68 ERA), Luzardo has settled in and thrown three consecutive quality starts, including his Tuesday outing, as he’s allowed just two earned runs in 18 innings pitched. After two perfect innings to begin the ballgame, Luzardo ran into some trouble in the third.
After he allowed a couple of runners to reach via a walk and hit, certified Marlin killer Freddie Freeman drilled an RBI single to center to give the Dodger an early lead. Catcher Will Smith followed with a run-scoring single of his own to make it 2-0.
“He’d probably tell you his command wasn’t exactly where he wanted it,” said manager Skip Schumaker after the game. “You could see some frustration at times but as the season has progressed, he’s grown as a pro, mentally and physically.”
On the mound for Los Angeles was future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw, who made his 15th career start against the Marlins. While still displaying signs of what makes arguably the best pitcher of this generation, it was evident that Kershaw was pitching in his age-35 season.
After keeping Miami off the board for the first three frames, the Marlins offense finally got to him. To lead off the fourth, Jake Burger slammed his 31st home run of the season to cut LA’s lead to 2-1. It was his sixth as a Marlin and second of his career against Kershaw.
The following inning, first baseman Josh Bell drilled a two-run shot to give Miami a 3-2 lead. It was his 20th of the season and the 18th surrendered by Kershaw this season.
The Dodgers would go to Ryan Yarbrough for the rest of the game. Kershaw’s final line was: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 3 SO, 2 HR. His fastball velocity sat in the low 90’s and he walked five batters for the second time this year. Still, the living legend is sporting a 2.61 ERA while being one of LA’s most consistent arms in his 16th season.
After six solid innings in which he allowed only four hits, two earned runs, one walk, and struck out six, Skip went to his bullpen to try and close it out. Luzardo mentioned he felt better as the game progressed on Tuesday: “I felt good in the fifth but I felt great in the sixth; that was probably the best that I’ve felt in a long time. Felt very ‘in rhythm’ and all my pitches were working really well,” said the left-hander.
AJ Puk was tasked with pitching the seventh, and immediately surrendered a game-tying blast to Chris Taylor. It was the eighth home run he’s allowed in 2023, surpassing last year’s total of seven.
Fireworks in the eighth
Miami’s bats woke up in a big way in the bottom of the eighth. Jake Burger reached via a HBP and then Bryan De La Cruz launched a two-run shot to give Miami the late lead.
Next batter, Jazz Chisholm Jr. connected on his 15th homer of the year to add some insurance. The ball traveled 436 feet and landed two-thirds of the way up the upper deck in right. “He hit that ball as good as I’ve ever seen a ball hit,” said Skip postgame.
That was the final tally in this one as Miami completed the 6-3 win by handing the ball over to Tanner Scott, who secured his fifth save of the season. Miami has now won five straight and improved to 71-67. JT Chargois will be the opener for the Marlins tomorrow as Edward Cabrera is expected to eat a majority of the innings.
- Andrew Nardi pitched a scoreless eighth inning, his first appearance since being struck by a come-backer five days ago.
- Jorge Soler made his return to the Marlins lineup after missing five games with a hip issue; he went 0-for-2 with a couple of walks.
- Edward Cabrera was in the Marlins clubhouse on Tuesday and is expected to pitch on Wednesday against the Dodgers.