Hanley Ramirez is off to a terrible start and Logan Morrison is on the disabled list with a foot injury.
But the Florida Marlins have been hanging right in with the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East Division with 12 wins in their first 18 games.
The Marlins hope to keep things going when they host the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday at 4:10 p.m. (PT) in the first of a three-game series.
The scheduled pitching matchup is Jon Garland versus Ricky Nolasco.
Ramirez, a three-time All-Star and one of the best power-hitting, speed shortstops in baseball, was batting just .207 with no homers entering this past weekend. He had missed a couple of games earlier this month due to a bruised leg, but is 100 percent now.
The same can’t be said for Morrison, who suffered sprained ligaments and a strained muscle in his foot this past Tuesday against Pittsburgh. He’s expected to be out two-to-four weeks.
Morrison was leading Florida in homers with four and RBIs with 11, while batting .327, second on the team to Gabby Sanchez.
Emilio Bonifacio and Scott Cousins have been filling in for Morrison in the outfield with the left-handed hitting Cousins drawing most of the starts against right-handed pitchers.
The Dodgers have been hanging in despite the league overseeing the team’s day-to-day operations due to possible new ownership. The Dodgers' 11-11 mark through Saturday is thanks in large part to outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Either. Both ranked in the top three in the majors in batting entering this past weekend.
After averaging a National League-worst 3.2 runs in their first 18 games, the Dodgers have picked up their offense. Still, with shortstop Rafael Furcal on the DL with a thumb injury, the Dodgers are starting journeymen at nearly half of their positions.
Going against a rejuvenated Nolasco should prove challenging. Nolasco was 14-9 last year, but had a 4.51 ERA. He was 13-9 in 2009 but his ERA was even higher at 5.06.
The 28-year-old right-hander, though, could be putting everything together this season as he’s 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is 18-to-two through 27 innings.
Nolasco is off a shutout victory this past Wednesday against Pittsburgh. Nolasco struck out eight while allowing just four hits in seven innings winning, 6-0, as a 145 home favorite against Charlie Morton. The combined six runs went ‘under’ the eight-run total.
Lifetime versus the Dodgers, Nolasco is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in 12 innings.
Garland also is off a strong performance. He beat Atlanta and Derek Lowe, 6-1, this past Wednesday as a 125 home ‘dog. The combined seven runs pushed on the seven-run total.
Garland went the distance giving up four hits with four strikeouts and two walks. He threw 108 pitches of which 73 were strikes.
The 31-year-old right-handed and been on the DL for a short time because of an oblique strain. Garland is 5-1 career-wise against the Marlins with a 2.33 ERA.
Garland was 14-12 last year with a 3.46 ERA pitching for San Diego.
The Marlins won four of six games against the Dodgers last year, going 2-1 at home. The Dodgers were 13-20 versus NL East foes in 2010.
The Dodgers are 12-6-3 to the ‘over’ in their first 21 games this year.
The weather forecast is for temperatures in the 80s, but a 30 percent chance of rain and possible thunderstorms.
The Dodgers begin a six-game homestand on Friday following their three-game series with Florida. Te Marlins go on a seven-game road trip after this series starting Friday with three games at Cincinnati followed by four games at St. Louis.