Ricky Nolasco was raised less than an hour from Dodger Stadium. Now, he gets the chance to pitch there for the team he grew up supporting.
The right-hander looks to build on a strong Los Angeles debut when he makes the first home start for his new club Sunday against the Colorado Rockies.
One exciting aspect of last weekend's four-player deal that sent Nolasco (6-8, 3.70 ERA) from Miami to Los Angeles (47-46) was that the southern California native can regularly pitch at Chavez Ravine.
"I couldn't be more excited to play in front of my family and friends in Dodger Stadium during this season and hopefully for many more seasons to come," said Nolasco, who grew up in nearby Corona.
Though he went 0-1 with an 8.18 ERA in two starts at Dodger Stadium for the Marlins, Nolasco hopes his first Los Angles home start goes as well as his debut Tuesday. He gave up a run and four hits in seven innings of a 6-1 victory at Arizona.
"I was pretty pumped up,'' said Nolasco, who also had two hits with an RBI. "I haven't been that locked in a long time. It worked out great. I was able to make good pitches. I was definitely excited. The energy and adrenaline was going those first few innings, so it was awesome.''
Owner of a 6-2 record and 4.75 ERA as a starter against the Rockies (45-50), Nolasco tries to follow up teammate Zack Greinke's stellar two-hitter from Saturday's 1-0 victory.
Greinke allowed singles to Jonathan Herrera and Todd Helton and struck out nine to win his fifth straight start and remain undefeated at Dodger Stadium. Hanley Ramirez had one of Los Angeles' four hits off Tyler Chatwood and drove in the lone run on a groundout in the first.
The Dodgers won for the 17th time in 21 games minus star rookie Yasiel Puig, who could miss a second straight contest with a sore hip. Puig is batting .392 with eight homers and 19 RBIs in 37 games.
"He has some tightness in that area and we just don't want to take any chances with him," manager Don Mattingly told the Dodgers' official website. "We'll see how he is (Sunday)."
Ramirez has hit .441 with 22 RBIs in his last 25 games but is 0 for 5 versus scheduled Colorado starter Jhoulys Chacin (8-4, 3.62), who is 1-0 despite posting a 6.94 ERA in two starts versus Los Angeles this year.
The right-hander's five-start winning streak ended Tuesday even though he allowed a run and five hits in six innings of a 2-1 loss at San Diego.
"It's been that way with him a lot this year,'' manager Walt Weiss said about Chacin, who has a 2.01 ERA in the last six starts. "He gave up some soft hits again. It was good to see him minimize the damage.''
Chatwood pitched eight strong innings but received no support from the Rockies, who have averaged 1.8 runs while going 3-6 on this 10-game trip.
"That was definitely a tough one,'' Chatwood said. "I threw the ball (well Saturday), but that's just how it goes."
Helton has batted .429 in his last 13 games against the Dodgers, and is 6 for 15 versus Nolasco.