Coming off their first victory in May, the Dodgers hope to begin a run in that positive direction Sunday against the visiting Miami Marlins. On Saturday Andre Either collected 4 hits after going just 4 for his last 23 (.174) over his last 6 games. Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched 6 2-3 solid innings and Los Angeles (14-21) snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 7-1 home win. The win was just what manager Don Mattingly needed especially since he is in the final year of his contract. LA was expected to finish near or at the top of the NL West though it has so far been anything but a road of dominance through the first fifth of the campaign.
In the rubber game of the series this afternoon, the Dodgers send Chris Capuano (0-2 10.38) to the hill hoping he can otherwise improve from his disaster of his last outing. Capuano was on the DL missing nearly a month with a left calf strain. Last Monday he yielded 6 runs on 8 hits in just 4 innings of a 9-2 loss to Arizona. He had similar troubles in spring training and needs to pitch more effective against the opposition in the early innings. If there's any added motivation, he'll be facing the Marlins (11-26) who hold the NL's worst record and second in the majors behind only Houston (10-27).
It's not like the Dodgers, who are hitting .261 overall have struggled much at the plate. However building rallies during their losing streak only fell by the waist side after leaving scoring opportunities on the base path. Adrian Gonzalez (.345 4 26) and Carl Crawford (.305 5 8) lead the way for LA who have combined for 36% of the team's long balls. While Eithier (.260 3 10) snapped out of his early season doldrums yesterday, Matt Kemp (.269 1 14) can certainly provide more of a contribution at the plate. Things haven't gone as consistently due to an abundance of injuries, however success is likely to contemplate if the starters can find a way to put together some quality innings.
The fish counter with Tom Koehler who takes over for Wade Leblanc in the starting rotation this afternoon. The New Yorker has made 6 relief appearances so far not factoring in a decision with a 3.18 ERA. He made a few starts for Triple A New Orleans before recently being recalled with a chance to give last place Miami aid to their struggling rotation. Unfortunately nothing much has gone right offensively this season for the Marlins with perhaps the exception of Justin Ruggiano (.221 6 15). Giancarlo Stanton is not due back from the DL for at least another 3 weeks after suffering a hamstring injury. Donovan Solano is hitting .278 to lead the team, but Adeiny Hechavarria is the only other Marlin with double figures in RBI.
We get a fairly steep price today at Chavez Revine, but given Capuano's struggles to find consistency combined with a first time starter in Koehler, both teams may be able to find some offense as a positive sign to find a winning streak. Speaking of winning streaks, we look to capture our 8th straight overall first half play as we've gone postal against the books with a 71% success rate to date. Let's hope that pattern continues at Dodger Stadium a little later on, as the early start in the heat could provide a little more carry for hits. Best of luck however you play!