If Ricky Nolasco can duplicate his first start in a Los Angeles uniform on Sunday afternoon, it shouldn't take long for the fans at Dodger Stadium to embrace their newest starter.
Nolasco makes his home debut for the Dodgers in the finale of a four-game series with the Colorado Rockies.
The 30-year-old Nolasco went from a Miami Marlins team that is sitting in the basement of the NL East to the contending Dodgers last Saturday following a trade that sent three minor league pitchers to south Florida.
The pressure was on Nolasco to perform right out of the gate as Los Angeles had won 13 of 16 ahead of his debut last Tuesday in Arizona. The righty delivered, logging seven innings of one-run ball in a 4-1 victory.
Nolasco yielded four hits without a walk and struck out five. He also had two hits and drove in a run at the plate.
"I was pretty pumped up," said Nolasco. "I haven't been that locked in in a long time, and it worked out great. It was definitely exciting, with a lot of energy and adrenaline going. The guys have been playing great the last two or three weeks, and I just try to come in and go about my business and help the team as much as possible."
A native of southern California, Nolasco was 5-8 with a 3.85 earned run average in 18 starts with the Marlins before the trade.
He is 6-2 lifetime versus the Rockies with a 4.76 ERA in nine meetings (8 starts).
Nolasco will follow up an outstanding outing from Zack Greinke, who logged his first complete game with the Dodgers, a 1-0 two-hitter on Saturday. Greinke retired the first 13 batters he faced and walked just one along with a season- high nine strikeouts.
Colorado got the tying run to second with nobody out in the top of the eighth, but Greinke set down the next three hitters before finishing off his 110- pitch masterpiece with a 1-2-3 ninth that gave the resurgent Dodgers their sixth win in seven games.
"That was pretty special what he did," Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said of Greinke. "He controlled his fastball and kept them off balance."
Los Angeles has won 17 of its last 21 and sits 2 1/2 games back of first-place Arizona in the NL West.
However, the break is coming at a good time for the Dodgers. Rookie Yasiel Puig did not start on Saturday due to a sore left hip, while fellow outfielder Carl Crawford sat out a second game in a row due to a stiff back. Center fielder Matt Kemp is already on the disabled list and infielder Mark Ellis exited in the eighth inning on Saturday with a leg injury.
The Dodgers managed just one run off the Rockies' Tyler Chatwood. Skip Schumaker laced the first pitch of the game into the left-field corner for a double and later scored on a Hanley Ramirez groundout.
Chatwood held the Dodgers to only four hits and a pair of walks in the youngster's first career complete game.
"That was definitely a tough one," said Chatwood, who recorded 16 of his 24 outs on the ground. "My stuff was the same all game and I attacked, but you have to tip your cap to Zack. He pitched a good game."
The tough-luck defeat was Colorado's sixth in nine contests on a 10-game road trip and the club matched a season high by falling five games below .500.
Taking the hill for the Rockies in this finale will be Jhoulys Chacin, who won his fifth straight start on July 4 even though he allowed four runs on nine hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings of work versus the Dodgers.
However, though the righty was better next time out on Tuesday in San Diego, Chacin suffered a 2-1 loss after giving up a run over six innings of work. He dipped to 8-4 with a 3.62 ERA in 17 starts this season with his first loss since May 16.
The 25-year-old has solid career numbers versus the Dodgers, going 7-5 with a 3.70 ERA in 14 meetings (13 starts), but has yielded nine runs and 18 hits in 11 2/3 innings against them in 2013.
The Dodgers and Rockies have split 12 meetings this season.