Wei-Yin Chen was the latest struggling pitcher to get right against the Dodgers, whose offense and bullpen continued to underwhelm in a fifth consecutive loss, this one 4-2 to the Marlins in the opener of a three-game series in Miami.
Chen entered Tuesday with a 10.22 ERA in his three starts in 2018, and allowed runners in scoring position in four of the five innings he started. None of them scored, which lowered Chen’s ERA to 7.56.
The Dodgers have lost 11 of 13 games started by opposing pitchers with a 5.00 or higher ERA this season, including each of their last four games. Los Angeles is now a half-game out of last place in the National League West.
Yasiel Puig homered in the seventh inning for the Dodgers’ first run. The club was 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
Cody Bellinger added a solo shot in the ninth inning but the Dodgers were down three runs at the time. The team’s last 12 home runs have come with nobody on base.
Justin Turner singled in four at-bats in his first game of the season, and Logan Forsythe was 0-for-4 in his first game back of the disabled list as well.
The Dodgers have scored 3.08 runs per game in May, during which they are 4-9. They have scored three or fewer runs in each game of this five-game losing streak.
On a night when Turner made his 2018 debut after missing 40 games, it was the Marlins who got the best of a J.T. vs. J.T. battle late in the game. Neither team had a hit with a runner in scoring position until the seventh inning, when J.T. Realmuto doubled with two outs to drive home Yadiel Rivera, who also doubled against J.T. Chargois.
Brian Anderson added a two-out RBI single of his own against Chargois, who has permitted multiple runs in each of his last three outings.
Alex Wood was just fine over his six innings, allowing nine singles but no walks, and he struck out five. The Marlins tallied just two runs against him, one earned.
Wood has started nine games this season. The Dodgers have scored 12 total runs before he was replaced on the mound in those games, including one Tuesday night. That goes a long way of explaining why the left-hander has a 3.35 ERA, a 2.53 FIP, 47 strikeouts and just eight walks in 51 innings yet is 0-4.
Wood has more losses this season than he did all of last year, when he was 16-3.
The way the Dodgers offense is going right now, other mistakes get amplified. That was the case in the first inning when Forsythe, in his first major league game in a month, skipping a throw to first base that Bellinger couldn’t dig out. A surefire inning-ending double play turned into a run for Miami when the ball got away from Bellinger.
Another gift came in the second inning when Kiké Hernandez threw off line to third base, allowing a second runner into scoring position with one out. But that run didn’t score, thanks to some nifty defense by Turner on a bizarre play.
Chen grounded a ball up the third base line which Turner fielded and immediately tagged Cameron Maybin for one out, then threw around him to first base to finish the inning.
The play was even more odd with third base umpire Vic Carapazza calling the ball foul, but since the ball was in front of third base it wasn’t his call to make. Jerry Layne, the home plate umpire, called the ball fair.
That was one of the few things that went the Dodgers’ way on Tuesday.
Walker Buehler starts the middle game of the series for the Dodgers, his fifth major league start and second this season against the Marlins. Miami will start another left-hander, with Caleb Smith getting the call for the 4:10 p.m. PT game.
Home runs: Yasiel Puig (2), Cody Bellinger (6)
WP - Nick Wittgren (2-0): 1⅔ IP, zeroes
LP - Alex Wood (0-4): 6 IP, 9 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 5 strikeouts
Sv - Brad Ziegler (6): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 strikeout