Dodgers-Marlins Preview

The Los Angeles Dodgers have tried to play through the
distraction of the team’s tumultuous ownership situation. It could
be hard to ignore Monday’s series-opening defeat.

The Dodgers look to bounce back from a ninth-inning meltdown
Tuesday night when they continue their series against the Florida
Marlins, who have matched their best 21-game start in franchise
history.

Five days after Major League Baseball took over day-to-day
operations of the Dodgers from owner Frank McCourt, who reportedly
arranged a $30 million loan from broadcasting partner Fox to make
payroll, commissioner Bud Selig hired former Texas Rangers
president J. Thomas Schieffer on Monday to run the franchise.

In their first game since that announcement, the Dodgers (12-12)
fell 5-4 on Monday with closer Jonathan Broxton giving up two
unearned runs in the ninth for his first blown save of the
season.

“Two-out walks will kill you every time,” said Broxton, who
walked Emilio Bonifacio after retiring the first two batters he
faced.

Broxton, though, was not the only one to blame. Shortstop Jamey
Carroll let a grounder slip under his glove with two outs in the
ninth and rookie left fielder Jerry Sands misjudged Omar Infante’s
line drive that helped the Marlins (14-7) win for the ninth time in
11 games.

Florida has nine come-from-behind victories.

“Nine? Wow,” said manager Edwin Rodriguez, whose team is 5-1 in
one-run games. “Back in spring training, we were talking about
winning close games, and they’ve been taking that to the next
level. It’s good to see.”

So is production from Hanley Ramirez, who snapped an 0-for-17
slump Monday with a two-out pinch-hit single in the ninth before
scoring the game-winning run.

“It gives me a lot of confidence,” said Ramirez, batting .194
with no homers. “I feel so much better right now.”

Ramirez, though, is hitless in six at-bats against Clayton
Kershaw (2-2, 3.00 ERA), who gets the ball Tuesday. The left-hander
was one strike shy of a complete-game win in his last start, but
lost the lead in the ninth inning of Thursday’s 5-3, 12-inning
victory over Atlanta. Kershaw allowed three runs and five hits over
8 2-3 innings.

Kershaw, 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts against Florida,
could get plenty of run support Tuesday. Los Angeles is batting
.306 and averaging 7.0 runs while recording double-digit hits in
six consecutive games. The Dodgers’ last seven-game run with 10 or
more hits was July 7-17, 2007.

Another hit by Andre Ethier would set a major league record for
an April hitting streak at 23 games. Ethier, who is batting .415
(27 for 65) in his last 19 games against Florida, has two hits in
10 at-bats against Tuesday’s starter Chris Volstad (1-1, 6.60).

Despite giving up five runs in 5 1-3 innings Thursday, the
6-foot-8 right-hander beat Pittsburgh 9-5.

Volstad is 2-3 with a 4.91 ERA in five starts against Los
Angeles.

Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, 5 for 14 with a home run off
Volstad, leads the majors in hits (36) and batting average (.396)
after going 1 for 4 on Monday.

Marlins center fielder Chris Coghlan hit two homers and went 3
for 4 in the series opener to improve his batting average to .395
over the last 11 contests. Coghlan struck out in his only at-bat
against Kershaw.