LOS ANGELES -- The heightened emotions of playing four games against the rival San Francisco Giants will give way to what figures to be a quieter atmosphere this week for the Los Angeles Dodgers, with the Miami Marlins coming to town.
Usually, a visit by the Marlins would be a good chance for the Dodgers to regroup and collect some badly needed wins, but the Marlins have shown some fight this year. In fact, they have a better record than the Dodgers. Plus, they’re starting two of their talented young pitchers, Jose Fernandez and Tom Koelher, against the aging portion of the Dodgers’ rotation.
The way Dan Haren looked last week in Washington, it’s a wonder he’ll take the mound at all. Haren had a little hitch in his step as he walked across the clubhouse and he admitted his chronically stiff lower back was feeling a bit more sore than usual after he got through a laborious outing at Nationals Park. Haren (4-1, 2.68 ERA) has pitched gamely despite whatever’s bothering him and his diminished fastball, something that could also be said of Josh Beckett (0-1, 2.80 ERA), who has pitched well while getting virtually no run support.
The Dodgers’ best chance for a win might be Tuesday night, when they face Jacob Turner, who is 0-9 in 16 career road starts. Then again, the Dodgers haven’t exactly been terrific at home. They’re 7-12 at Dodger Stadium.
The last time the Dodgers faced Koehler, who worked in relief last year and won the fifth-starter competition this spring, he pitched seven shutout innings in a 6-3 Marlins win two weeks ago.
The Dodgers are also facing a little instability on the left side of their infield and in the bottom half of their lineup. They figure to be forced to make a decision about whether to put Juan Uribe on the 15-day disabled list in the next two days. Uribe left Friday’s game with some mild tightness in his right hamstring. Without him, the Dodgers are relying on Justin Turner and Chone Figgins and neither has been particularly productive.
One player who has been productive consistently for the Dodgers is major-league stolen base leader Dee Gordon, who went 9-for-15 in that series in Miami, stealing four bases.