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Dodgers try to change the script in finale with Marlins

MLB: Miami Marlins at Los Angeles Dodgers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers and Marlins conclude a three-game series with a weird start time on Wednesday afternoon, after a pair of low-scoring games that followed pretty much the same script before improvized endings.

Both Monday and Tuesday were 1-1 games late when the Dodgers scratched across the go-ahead run. Both nights saw the Marlins tie the game in the eighth inning against the Dodgers bullpen.

Kenley Jansen was not used in either contest, Monday by design (he was unavailable after pitching the two previous days) and Tuesday by choice (avoided in a tie game in favor of Pedro Baez, who allowed the winning run for Miami).

“That’s a decision that didn’t work out and I take full responsibility for it,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It was a decision I made going essentially against the book.”

Roberts has an easier decision on Wednesday, sending Clayton Kershaw to the mound for the series finale. Kershaw has pitched seven innings in each of his last three starts, his longest such streak since June 29-July 18 last season, a four-start stretch wrapped around the All-Star break before he was sidelined by a back injury.

Kershaw also hasn’t walked anybody in his last three starts, the first time he has done that since Apr. 26-May 7, 2016.

Trevor Richards is on the mound for the Marlins, the first right-handed starter used by Miami in the series. This is his fifth major league start.

The first four starts include one very good start — seven scoreless innings against Pittsburgh — and three mediocre ones, allowing 14 runs in just 12 total innings in those. The result is a 6.16 ERA, and nearly as many walks (11) as strikeouts (14).

Miami’s starters have a 5.16 ERA so far this season, 26th in MLB. The Dodgers have scored two total runs in 11⅓ innings against Marlins starters this season.

The Dodgers have scored just 10 runs with Kershaw in the game in his five starts, including four starts with zero or one run.

Early start

The 4:35 p.m. PT start technically counts as a day game because it begins before 5 p.m., and gives this six-game homestand starts of 7:10 p.m. (three times), 6:10 p.m., 5:08 p.m. and 4:35 p.m.

More rest was built into baseball’s collective bargaining agreement beginning in 2018, including the 162-game season spread over 187 days instead of 183 like before. There is also more time allowed for travel, which is where this early start on getaway day comes into play. Per the CBA:

For the 2018 championship season, the latest possible start time for getaway games on days when the visiting Club travels to a home off-day or either Club travels to another game the following day shall be determined by taking the portion of the in-flight time that exceeds 2½ hours, and subtracting that amount of time from 7 p.m.

The Dodgers have a short flight to San Francisco on Thursday so that doesn’t affect things. The Marlins are off Thursday, but their flight home to Miami is measured at 4:41 per for CBA purposes. Subtracting 2½ hours from that is 2:11, and subtracting that from 7 p.m. means Wednesday’s game couldn’t have started any later than 4:49 p.m.

Game info

Time: 4:35 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA