The Los Angeles Dodgers played themselves out of the lead in the National League West this past week. On Friday, they try to find the win column when they open a three-game series with the Miami Marlins at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers entered the week a half-game up on the San Francisco Giants for the lead in the West, but a three-game sweep at the hands of their rivals as well as a win by the Giants on Thursday has dropped them three games back in the division and 1 1/2 games behind in the wild card race.
"Nothing really went our way this series," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "They got us on the ropes instantly."
Getting the call for the Dodgers on Friday will be righty Chad Billingsley, who has won his last six starts. Billingsley was terrific in beating the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, as he scattered three hits over seven scoreless innings to run his record to 10-9, while lowering his ERA to 3.44.
He has allowed just six runs in 41 2/3 innings since the All-Star break and with another victory can become the first Dodger to win seven consecutive starts since Kevin Brown from May 14-June 17, 2003.
Billingsley is 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA versus the Marlins, who will counter with former Dodger Nathan Eovaldi.
Acquired from Los Angeles as part of the Hanley Ramirez deal, Eovaldi is 3-2 with a 3.75 ERA since the trade. He struggled with his command a bit his last time out, but tossed 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball in Colorado, despite walking four batters.
"He was still a little bit off," said Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen. "But the fastball was coming out of his hands very well. This kid only needs to throw strikes. He's got a great arm. He's got a great idea of what he wants to do."
Miami enters this series after splitting a four-game set with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Marlins won the first two games, but lost the final two, including a doubleheader sweep on Wednesday.
After scoring 18 runs in the first two contests of the series, Miami managed to cross the plate just twice in the two games on Wednesday.
The Dodgers took two of three from the Marlins earlier in the year.