Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#961 Miami Marlins 8 vs.
#962 Los Angeles Dodgers -315
Friday, July 19, 2019 at 10:10pm EDT
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The Miami Marlins will try to continue their bid for a strong second half when they travel on the road to Dodger Stadium on Friday night for the first of three games versus the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers have all but sealed up their ticket to October by posting the MLB’s best record through 99 games. Los Angeles has put considerable distance between themselves and the rest of the NL West, building a nearly insurmountable 13.5-game lead over the second-place Diamondbacks. Can the Dodgers continue their winning ways at home against a Marlins team that has beaten them in four of their last five meetings? 

Gallen still searching for first MLB win

Miami doesn’t have very many trade chips heading into the July 31 deadline, but they will welcome back one veteran who could be on the move soon. The Marlins activated veteran infielder Martin Prado from the injured list on Thursday, after missing a month with a right hamstring strain. Prado, a career .288 hitter, could be a valuable asset for a potential contender ahead of the deadline, as he’s played both first and third base this year.

Rookie right-hander Zac Gallen will toe the rubber for the Marlins in their first game at Dodger Stadium over the weekend. Through four MLB starts, the highly-rated prospect is still looking for his first career victory. He owns a 4.24 ERA and has struck out 21 batters in just 17 innings of work, but struggled with his command in his last start against the New York Mets. The 23-year-old walked five batters and struck out five, allowing two runs in five frames to finish with a no-decision on the night. He’s surrendered three runs or less in all four of his starts, but efficiency has been a problem for the youngster. Gallen has topped 90 pitches three times, but has yet to complete more than five innings in a start at the MLB level. The Marlins’ No. 5-overall prospect was dominant at the Triple-A level, going 9-1 with a 1.77 ERA while striking out a whopping 33.6 percent of the batters he faced across 14 starts. 

Ryu leading NL Cy Young race

Los Angeles has been one of the best defensive teams in all of baseball, leading the MLB with 93 defensive runs saved in 2019. However, they haven’t been employing their optimal defensive lineup, settling for less-than-average defense in centerfield — one of the most important positions on the diamond. A.J. Pollock has been the team’s main centerfielder this season, but something interesting happened when he got hurt. Pollock, who owns a -3 defensive runs saved this season, was replaced by Alex Verdugo, who accumulated a healthy four defensive runs saved during his time in center. 

The Dodgers will counter with NL Cy Young candidate Hyun-Jin Ryu, who has yet to slow down after a fast start to the season. Since the beginning of last season, Ryu has been one of the most dominant pitchers in all of baseball, posting a 1.86 ERA over his last 33 starts. The 32-year-old hasn’t let up in 2019, going 10-2 with a 1.78 ERA, positioning himself as the leader for the Cy Young Award in the National League. In 19 games (18 starts), Ryu has pitched into the sixth inning or later 17 times and allowed two earned runs or less on all but one occasion. That occurrence came three starts ago, when he gave up a season-high seven earned runs on the road in Coors Field.  

Ryu has only made one start against the Marlins dating back to 2016. He tossed 5 ⅓ frames of two-run ball in a win against them in 2017. According to Baseball Savant, the current Marlins’ roster is batting .262 in 47 plate appearances off the Dodgers’ ace heading into Friday’s matchup.

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The Marlins have won four of the last five meetings in this series and Gallen is still searching for his first MLB victory, but it will likely have to wait. The Dodgers were not happy with the way that Phillies’ closer Hector Neris yelled at the dugout following his most recent save and I have a feeling they will take their frustrations out on the Marlins’ youngster here. The Dodgers’ loaded lineup is a tough task for any pitcher, but especially a rookie making his fifth career MLB start. Take the Dodgers on the run line in this NL battle on Friday night.

Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5

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The over is 33-13-5 in the last 51 meetings in Los Angeles and 45-22-6 in their last 73 meetings, but runs could be hard to come by here. The Marlins are going to have a tough time scoring on Ryu, who has surrendered more than two earned runs just once this season and Gallen has been solid despite not being able to go deep into games. Look for this matchup to go under the projected total on Friday night. 

Prediction: Under

Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. He uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits.