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.”