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Home Runs: Killing Rallies, Winning Games

Jerry Hairston Jr. is hitting .500 (8-for-16) with six extra-base hits off Ricky Nolaso, tonight's starter for the Marlins.
Jerry Hairston Jr. is hitting .500 (8-for-16) with six extra-base hits off Ricky Nolaso, tonight's starter for the Marlins.

The Dodgers won the opener of their series with the Marlins on Friday, thanks in part to a two-run home run by Juan Rivera in the sixth inning. It was the second straight win for the Dodgers, and the second straight game they hit a home run.

During Friday's broadcast, Dodgers play-by-play man Eric Collings playfully jabbed analyst Steve Lyons after the Rivera home run as Lyons routinely has stated that home runs kill rallies. Lyons attempted to clarify.

"I don't say (home runs are rally killers). I don't really want to see a home run unless it's gonna tie the game or put you ahead," Lyons said.

The Dodgers have won 11 of their last 12 games in which they have homered. Ten of their 16 home runs during that span gave the Dodgers the lead.

On the season, when the Dodgers hit a home run they are 37-16 (.698). The rest of MLB has a .603 winning percentage when hitting a home run.

Conversely, the Dodgers are 25-34 (.424) when they allow a home run. The Dodgers are 23-7 (.767) in games in which they homer but the opponent does not. They are 11-25 (.306) when allowing a home run but not hitting one.

After hitting a woeful six home runs in 28 games in June, the Dodgers hit 19 home runs in 26 games in July. They have five home runs so far in eight games in August.

Tonight's Pitching Matchup

Joe Blanton makes his second start as a Dodger, looking for his fifth straight quality start and seventh in his last eight outings. Blanton saw a lot of the Marlins in his time with the Phillies, and is 4-1 in five career starts in Miami with a 2.79 ERA with 10 walks and 35 strikeouts in 29 innings.

Jose Reyes is back in the lineup Saturday night for Miami, but Reyes in his career is just 6-for-31 against Blanton, hitting .194/.242/.355 with one home run. Carlos Lee is 9-for-18 (.500) with three doubles in his career against Blanton.

Blanton is tied with Mike Minor of Atlanta for the National League lead with 23 home runs allowed this season.

Rialto High School's own Ricky Nolasco gets the start for the Marlins, and has a current streak of five non-quality starts in a row. He has allowed at least four runs in his last five starts, 22 runs in 27 2/3 innings overall for a 7.16 ERA and five straight losses. Miami has scored six total runs in those five starts.

Jerry Hairston Jr. is 8-for-16 (.500) lifetime against Nolasco with five doubles and a triple. Andre Ethier is 6-for-10 (.600) with a double and three walks against him. Among Dodgers, Shane Victorino has faced Nolasco by far the most, hitting .171/.194/.229 in 37 plate appearances.

Game Time: 4:10 p.m.


MLB Gameday