While the Los Angeles Dodgers wait for their offense to get going, they will continue to look to their pitching to keep them close to the top of the NL West.
Los Angeles is 10th in the NL with a .252 batting average, next-to-last with 152 runs scored and last with 26 home runs.
Despite those struggles, the Dodgers are one game above .500 because they have the best ERA in the majors at 2.97.
McGriff, however, has begun to find his stroke. He hit his 484th home run and drove in two runs Wednesday as the Dodgers avoided a three-game sweep with a 5-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
In his last 13 games, McGriff is batting .337 (27-for-80) with 14 RBIs. With 1,522 RBIs, he is one shy of Sam Crawford for 35th place on the career list.
“He’s definitely starting to see the ball well and starting to get more comfortable,” teammate Kevin Brown said after winning his third straight decision. “It’s great to see, from a standpoint of playing behind him. Fred got it started tonight, gave me a little breathing room, and it was greatly appreciated.”
Dreifort followed two straight effective starts with a disappointing outing Saturday in the Dodgers’ 6-5 loss at Montreal. He allowed season highs of five runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings, after yielding three runs or fewer in each of his first six starts.
The Marlins have won three of their first four under new manager Jack McKeon.
Third baseman Mike Lowell continued his hot hitting with his 13th home run. Lowell, with five home runs and 10 RBIs in his last six games, ranks among the NL leaders in both categories.
“I’m not trying to figure it out,” Lowell said. “Home runs and extra base-hits come in streaks. I hope my streak lasts pretty long.”
STANDINGS: Marlins - 4th place, , NL East. Dodgers - 2nd place,, NL West.
MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Carl Pavano (3-4, 4.14 ERA). In McKeon’s first game as Marlins manager Sunday, Pavano gave up two runs and 12 hits, but walked none through seven innings of a 7-2 victory over Colorado. The right-hander has allowed two runs or fewer in five of his last six starts, lowering his ERA from 5.30 to 4.14. Pavano is 4-1 with a 3.26 ERA in seven games against the Dodgers.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Dreifort (2-3, 3.95 ERA). The right-hander is 2-3 with a 3.74 ERA in 13 games against Florida.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Marlins - Luis Castillo, .331 avg.; Lowell, 13 HRs, 35 RBIs and 26 runs; Juan Pierre, 17 SBs. Dodgers - Dave Roberts, .288 avg. and 18 SBs; McGriff, 6 HRs and 21 RBIs; Roberts and Green, 21 runs.
2002 SEASON SERIES: 3-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Marlins - Florida has lost eight of its last 10 at Dodger Stadium. … Florida’s ERA under McKeon is 3.12, a full run less than the team’s season average. … RHPs Brad Penny and Tim Spooneybarger and C Ivan Rodriguez planned to attend Thursday’s NBA playoff game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. Dodgers - 2B Alex Cora is 6-for-28 from the leadoff spot this season. … RF Green is 5-for-10 with two homers lifetime against Pavano. … RHP Guillermo Mota has allowed one hit over 11 1-3 scoreless innings in his last seven appearances.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Marlins - 8-13 on the road. Dodgers - 10-9 at home.
INJURIES: Marlins - OF Abraham Nunez (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Josh Beckett (elbow), 15-day DL; LHP Mark Redman (thumb), 15-day DL; RHP A.J. Burnett (elbow), 60-day DL. Dodgers - C Todd Hundley (neck), 15-day DL; OF Chad Hermansen (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Paul Shuey (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL; LHP Troy Brohawn (shoulder), 15-day DL; CF Roberts (hamstring), day-to-day.