Dodgers vs Marlins Pre-Game: Blanton Searching for First Dodger Win

Last night was the return of Hanley Ramirez to his old stomping grounds in Miami against the Marlins. It was said to be a mixed reaction of boos and cheers from Marlins fans when he came to the plate, although it sounded like more boos on my end of the television. As the game went on, the cheers completely faded away, with Ramirez going 3-for-5 with two RBIs in the 5-2 Dodgers win.

The Dodgers have now won two games in a row, but it’s not a streak unless you win three in a row. That was said by the great manager Lou Brown in the movie Major League, for those of you that apparently live under a rock if you haven’t seen it. (Charlie Sheen movie reference, WINNING.)

Well the Dodgers will go for that third straight win tonight, against the Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco.

Nolasco is all over the Marlins franchise record books, as the all-time franchise leader in wins with 72, and in all-time strikeouts with 872. However, this season has been tough for the 29-year-old from Corona, California. During this disastrous season for the Marlins as a whole, Nolasco has an 8-11 record with a 4.95 ERA of his own. It hasn’t gotten much better for him as of late either, with five straight starts allowing four runs or more, resulting in all loses. The last time Nolasco came out of a start with a win was back on July 6 against the St. Louis Cardinals. In his career against the Dodgers team that he will face tonight, Nolasco is 0-2 with a 7.33 ERA against them. So tonight he will try to put an end to his own losing streak and make sure the Dodgers don’t start a streak of their own.

It will be Joe Blanton on the mound tonight against the Marlins, in search of his first win in Dodger Blue. In his first start as a Dodger against the Cubs last week, he went 6.0 innings, allowing five hits, two runs, three walks, with five strikeouts in the no decision. It was a shock that he even walked three hitters, since he’s only done that one other time all year. In that game he did allow a home run, which he has done 23 times this season, tied for the National League lead. Overall Blanton has an 8-9 record this season with a 4.52 ERA. He has faced the Marlins twice this season as a member of the Phillies, coming out with a 1-1 record. In his career against the Marlins he has a 7-4 record with a 3.58 ERA. If Blanton can stay away from the long ball this could end up a memorable night, as he could come out with his first win as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Los Angeles Dodgers (61-52) at Miami Marlins (51-62)
Joe Blanton (8-9, 4.52) vs Ricky Nolasco (8-11, 4.95)
Marlins Ballpark, Miami, Florida
4:10 p.m. PST, August 11, 2012
TV: KCAL
Radio: 570 AM (English), 1020 AM (Spanish)
Game-Time Weather: 80 degrees, Thunderstorms

Marlins’ Projected Lineup:
SP: Ricky Nolasco
C: John Buck
1B: Carlos Lee
2B: Donovan Solano
SS: Jose Reyes
3B: Greg Dobbs
LF: Bryan Petersen
CF: Justin Ruggiano
RF: Giancarlo Stanton

Key Bench Players: OF Austin Kearns, OF Scott Cousins

For more on the Marlins, check out our pre-series report.

Key to a Dodgers Victory:
It would be nice for the Dodgers to get a dominate showing out of Joe Blanton, mainly to show he could be a great pickup for the starting rotation going forward. By a solid start I mean zero runs allowed, through six or seven innings of work, and that would get the fans on board. In his best start of the season against the Braves on May 3, he went 9.0 innings, allowing three hits, zero runs, and striking out six. I’m not asking for Blanton to be that guy every time out, it would just be nice to show he has it in him to dominate a baseball game in Dodger Blue.

Prediction: Dodgers 4, Marlins 0

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