The Los Angeles Dodgers are still trying to get out of their recent funk and look to halt a season-worst eight-game slide Saturday in the middle test of a three-game series versus the Miami Marlins.
The Dodgers have lost all eight of their games in May and sit last in the NL West standings. The losing ways continued with Friday's 5-4 loss to the Marlins and a three-run homer by Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning wasn't enough. A.J. Ellis had three hits and an RBI, while Carl Crawford finished 3- for-5 with a run scored for L.A., which has lost its last three game by no more than two runs.
The Dodgers are winless in five straight at Chavez Ravine.
Matt Magill started on the mound for the Dodgers and did not receive a decision. He gave up three runs in five innings. Ronald Belisario permitted three hits and two runs in the seventh inning to take the loss.
"It is tough, I hate losing and hate playing bad, but you just have to try to get better every day and move on," Magill said.
In uplifting news for the Dodgers, starting pitcher Zach Greinke is nearing his return from a broken collarbone suffered in a skirmish with Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin a few weeks ago. Greinke pitched in his first rehab assignment on Friday night for Class A Rancho Cucamonga and said he is ready to come back to the bigs.
"I am," Greinke told the club's website. "I won't be in midseason form, but I feel I'm able to get guys out.
"I just have to get my right arm ready. I'll definitely head somewhere. I can't say (where) without talking to somebody. I'm sure they'd rather me pitch better than the results. I felt I pitched OK. Get the lights of a Major League game and it's different, you step up another notch."
Dodgers rookie hurler Hyun-Jin Ryu has handled the pressure of the major leagues and gets the nod Saturday versus Miami. The Korean left-hander, though, was banged around in his last outing, a 4-3 loss at San Francisco in which he gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings.
Ryu, who was 3-0 in his past five outings, fell to 3-2 in seven starts and saw his ERA go up slightly from 3.35 to 3.71. He has never faced the Marlins.
The Marlins ended a three-game slide and improved to 3-5 on a 10-game road trip with Friday's win.
Derek Dietrich clubbed the first home run of his career, a three-run shot that tied the game in the fourth inning, and Juan Pierre ended 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Marlins.
"We're starting to see improvement as a team, and that is good to see," Pierre said.
Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez shook off a shaky start and lasted six innings, allowing three runs and eight hits to earn his second straight victory. Fernandez settled down after Gonzalez's three-run shot in the first.
"I think he got mad," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "I think Jose took it to another level. It looked he had come out a little bit up in the zone in the first inning, and then he turned it up a notch. He was lights out after that."
Trying to pitch the Marlins to a series win Saturday will be Kevin Slowey, who is 1-2 with a decent 1.81 earned run average in seven starts. He finally tasted victory in Sunday's 14-2 drubbing of the Philadelphia Phillies and fanned seven batters over seven shutout innings. He recorded four straight no- decisions before the win in south Philly.
Slowey, a right-hander, has never faced the Dodgers and is 1-1 in three road assignments.
L.A. won four of six games against the Marlins a season ago.