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.