LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers return home to open a 10-game homestand, starting with a four-game weekend series against the reeling Marlins at Dodger Stadium.
Miami comes to town having lost 17 of their last 21 games, including their last three straight, and haven’t won consecutive games since Apr. 22-23.
The main culprit has been the pitching, with a 5.09 ERA during those 21 games. The starting pitchers have a 4.84 ERA on the season, 12th in the National League, and are 14th in the NL averaging just 5.10 innings per start.
Wei-Yin Chen is on the disabled list with elbow discomfort with no timetable for his return, and the club optioned starters Adam Conley and Tom Koehler to Triple-A New Orleans in the last two weeks, wiping out three of the five members of Miami’s opening day rotation.
Free agent reliever Brad Ziegler has more walks (10) than strikeouts (seven) to go with his 6.61 ERA, and fellow free agent bullpener Junichi Tazawa had a 6.60 ERA before getting placed on the disabled list this week.
As the Miami Sun-Sentinel said this week, the Marlins pitching staff is "in shambles."
Then again, the Marlins were struggling last year at 6-11 when they swept the Dodgers in four games, Don Mattingly’s triumphant return to Dodger Stadium.
One thing that has worked for the Marlins in 2017 is their outfield, hitting .270/.336/.479, third in the National League in OPS, first in home runs (27) and tied for most RBI (74).
Marcell Ozuna has been the best of the group, hitting .308/.382/.575, and he and Giancarlo Stanton are tied for the team lead with 11 home runs. Stanton, a product of Notre Dame (the good one) High School in Sherman Oaks, is a career .314/.377/.757 hitter at Dodger Stadium with nine home runs and 22 RBI in 19 games.
Hyun-jin Ryu gets to deal with that outfield and the rest of the Marlins lineup on Thursday night. In two home starts this season, Ryu has 16 strikeouts and four walks in 11⅓ innings, and a 3.97 ERA.
Ryu walked six in his last start for the Dodgers. His mound counterpart on Thursday, Edinson Volquez, walked eight two starts ago and struck out nine in the same game, in just 4⅓ innings. In his last four starts, all losses, Volquez has a 5.21 ERA with nearly as many walks (18) as strikeouts (19) in his 19 innings.
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA