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Surprisingly bad Dodgers take on predictably bad Marlins


Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig argues the call with home plate umpire Mark Wegner after being called out on strikes in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants on March 29 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo by Jim Ruymen | License Photo

By Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange, UPI

Predictably awful and surprisingly bad.

That's the quickest way to describe what we've seen so far this season from the Miami Marlins (14-26) and Los Angeles Dodgers (16-24), respectively.

These teams -- who are two of the four worst in the National League -- will meet at Marlins Park on Tuesday night, set to start a three-game series.

Tuesday's pitching matchup features a pair of left-handers who have combined for just one win this season: Alex Wood (0-3, 3.60 ERA) for the Dodgers and Wei-Yin Chen (1-2, 10.22) for Miami.

The Dodgers have lost four straight games and seven of their past eight. They are off to their worst 40-game start since 1958, and this could prove to be a stern test for Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

"You are what your record is," Roberts told "It's up to us to prove it, but I think we are a good team. We just haven't played like a good team consistently this year."

The Dodgers are 16th in the majors, middle of the pack, in runs scored. Their offense has been hurt by injuries, most notably the loss of shortstop Corey Seager, who is out for the year due to elbow surgery.

Seager, 24, slugged 48 homers the past two seasons, winning NL Rookie of the Year in 2016 and making the All-Star Game twice already. His loss from a key position cannot be underestimated.

The good news for the Dodgers is that two starters -- third baseman Justin Turner (wrist) and second baseman Logan Forsythe (shoulder) -- are expected to return from the disabled list on Tuesday.

Turner, 33, would be making his 2018 debut after hitting .322 last year with 21 homers and 71 RBIs. In the past two years, he has peaked as a major-leaguer, hitting 48 homers and driving in 161 runs.

Forsythe, 31, isn't nearly as big an offensive threat but is solid defensively.

"It will be a boost to see those guys active in the lineup," Roberts said.

But even as those players return, the Dodgers have other problems. Right fielder Yasiel Puig has underachieved mightily. After hitting 28 homers last year, he has just one this season. He is hitting .204 with a sickly .534 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

In addition, outfielder Joc Pederson, who hit 62 homers the past three years, is batting just .242 with one homer this season.

As mediocre as the Dodgers have been offensively, the Marlins have been worse, ranking last in the majors in runs scored.

To make matters worse, the Marlins are dealing with two injuries to starters, both of which occurred on Sunday. Shortstop Miguel Rojas was hit by a pitch on his left wrist. Right fielder Brian Anderson has a sore middle finger on his right hand, a problem he noted after hitting a fly ball.

X-rays came back negative on both players, but they still may be held out of Tuesday's game.

"Right now, I couldn't play," Rojas told the media after Sunday's game. "(The hit by pitch) was scary. I felt right away something really weird."

Should Rojas have to miss extended time, the Marlins could decide to recall shortstop JT Riddle, from Triple-A New Orleans.

Riddle, 26, made his major league debut last year and was solid in a 70-game trial. He started this year on the disabled list but has proven to be healthy in recent Triple-A games.

As for Anderson, the Marlins have other options for corner outfielders, including Cameron Maybin and Derek Dietrich.

"I feel fine," Anderson said. "It's just a bruise. But I want to make sure I stay healthy for the rest of the year."

Meanwhile, Wood -- who went 16-3 last year -- will make his ninth start of the season and is still looking for his first win. He was 6-0 at this time last year but has pitched in bad luck in 2018. Batters are hitting just .219 against him, and his 1.00 WHIP is his career best.

Chen has been a disaster ever since the Marlins handed him a five-year, $80 million contract. In his third year in the deal, Chen has been able to make just 34 starts due to injuries and has an 8-8 record.

They paid him like an ace, but he has not delivered.


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U.S. Daily News | Sports: Surprisingly bad Dodgers take on predictably bad Marlins
Surprisingly bad Dodgers take on predictably bad Marlins
U.S. Daily News | Sports
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