Dodgers-Marlins Preview

A return to Miami seems to be just what Los Angeles’ Hanley

Ramirez needed to find his stroke.

Ramirez looks to build on one of his best games in a Dodgers

uniform and add to the misery of former teammate Ricky Nolasco on

Saturday night at Marlins Park.

Acquired from Miami (51-62) on July 25, Ramirez got off to a

slow start with Los Angeles (61-52), batting .226 with 12 RBIs in

14 games. The three-time All-Star arrived in Miami, where he had

played since 2006, mired in a 5-for-32 slump (.156), but he quickly

broke out of it by going 3 for 5 in Friday’s 5-2 win. He drove in

two runs and scored one for the Dodgers, who opened a 10-game road

trip with their fourth straight victory away from Chavez

Ravine.

“We don’t expect anything less from him,” said winning pitcher

Clayton Kershaw. “He’s one of the most talented guys I’ve ever

played with tools-wise. He’s starting to get locked in, and that’s

a good thing for us.”

Ramirez’s former teammate Jose Reyes didn’t play in the opener

(sore right hand) one day after his career-best 26-game hitting

streak ended. He expects to be back in the lineup Saturday to face

Joe Blanton (8-9, 4.52 ERA), against whom he is batting .194 in 31

at-bats.

Blanton made his Dodgers debut Sunday against the Chicago Cubs

two days after being acquired from Philadelphia. The nine-year

veteran right-hander allowed two runs, five hits and tied a season

high with three walks in six innings of a 7-6 win, though didn’t

get a decision.

“He’s a quality starter and he’ll add a little depth to our

rotation,” Andre Ethier said

Blanton faced the Marlins three times with the Phillies, going

1-2 with a 4.26 ERA. He took the loss in his first outing at

Marlins Ballpark on July 1 after winning all four of his starts at

the club’s old stadium.

While Reyes has struggled mightily against Blanton, Carlos Lee

has had no trouble hitting him. Lee, whose season-best 14-game

hitting streak ended Friday, has singled in all three of his

at-bats against Blanton this year, and is 9 for 18 with three

doubles lifetime.

Nolasco (8-11, 4.95) is mired in the worst consecutive-start

losing streak of his career, and facing the Dodgers might not be

the answer.

After going 2-0 with a 0.92 ERA in his final three starts before

the All-Star break, Nolasco has a 7.16 ERA in losing his five

starts since. Against Washington on Sunday, the right-hander gave

up four runs, eight hits and four walks in six innings of a 4-1

final.

“Ricky threw the ball better than he was the last couple of

outings,” Ozzie Guillen told the Marlins’ official website.

This will be Nolasco’s first start against the Dodgers since May

29, 2011, when he was knocked around for eight runs and a

career-worst 15 hits in an 8-0 loss. That dropped him to 0-2 with a

7.33 ERA in four career starts versus Los Angeles.

He’ll have to be careful pitching to Ethier and Matt Kemp.

Ethier is 6 for 10 with a double and three walks lifetime against

Nolasco, while Kemp is batting .447 with three homers, five doubles

and 11 RBIs in his last 12 games.