Dodgers-Marlins Preview

Andre Ethier has hit safely in each game over the past three
weeks. He seems to have a good chance of extending his run Monday
night.

Ethier, who has battered Florida pitching over the past few
seasons, looks to stretch his hitting streak to 22 games when the
visiting Los Angeles Dodgers open a three-game series against the
Marlins.

Ethier didn’t waste any time adding to his streak Sunday in
Chicago, singling in a run in his first at-bat. The All-Star right
fielder finished with two hits in the Dodgers’ 7-3 victory, their
sixth in eight games.

Ethier is one of only three players in MLB history with a
21-game hitting streak in April, and his run is the longest by a
Dodgers player since Nomar Garciaparra’s 22-game stretch in
2006.

“It’s about going up there and executing and being confident,”
said Ethier, batting .407 with two homers and 13 RBIs during his
run.

Ethier has enjoyed similar success against the Marlins (13-7),
hitting safely in nine of his last 10 games against them, and 16 of
18.

In 10 games against Florida since the start of 2009, Ethier is
15 for 31 (.484), his highest batting average against any
opponent.

Ethier is 2 for 5 lifetime against scheduled starter Ricky
Nolasco (2-0, 3.00 ERA), but hasn’t faced him in nearly three
years.

This will be Nolasco’s first start against the Dodgers (12-11)
since 2008. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in two career
starts against them.

Nolasco is coming off his best outing of the season, allowing
four hits while striking out eight in seven innings of Wednesday’s
6-0 win over Pittsburgh.

The Marlins have won Nolasco’s last three starts, and are 12-4
with him on the mound since June 23.

The Dodgers counter with Jon Garland (1-1, 4.15), who is hoping
to build on a stellar outing by facing one of his favorite
opponents.

Garland opened the season on the disabled list with a strained
oblique muscle and permitted five runs in four innings in losing to
St. Louis on April 15 in his season debut.

Against Atlanta on Wednesday, however, the right-hander pitched
a four-hitter in a 6-1 victory. He struck out four, walked two and
introduced a splitter to his repertoire.

“He was a phenomenon,” catcher Rod Barajas told the Dodgers’
official website. “He told me about the splitter and it looked good
in the bullpen and when we were walking in and he said he’d try
using it. It’s a pitch that can make a hitter very
uncomfortable.”

Garland has made Marlins hitters uncomfortable throughout his
career.

The former All-Star is 5-1 with a 2.33 ERA in seven starts
against the Marlins, and has posted a 1.93 ERA in winning all five
games against them since 2009.

Florida went 4-2 against the Dodgers last year, winning the
season series for the first time since 2007.

The Marlins are coming off Sunday’s 6-3 win over Colorado, their
eighth victory in 10 games despite Hanley Ramirez’s struggles at
the plate.

The three-time All-Star shortstop was hitless in four at-bats
Sunday, drawing boos from the hometown fans, and is 2 for 27 (.074)
in his last eight games. He could have trouble breaking out of his
funk in this series opener, as he’s 3 for 16 (.188) – albeit with
two solo homers – against Garland.

Despite his slump, Ramirez said he’s having the most fun of his
career, with the Marlins matching their best 20-game start in
franchise history.

“This is like a Little League team,” he said. “Everybody is
happy, and happy to be here.”