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MIA@COL: Eovaldi strikes out three over 6 2/3 innings

Earlier this month, Hanley Ramirez visited his old teammates in Miami, as the Dodgers took two of three games from his former club.

In a three-game set that begins Friday -- a crucial one for the struggling Dodgers -- the Marlins will pay him a return visit.

Fittingly, it's right-hander Nathan Eovaldi -- sent to Miami as part of the trade that brought Ramirez to Los Angeles -- who gets the ball in the opener. Eovaldi was traded to the Marlins on July 25 along with Minor League pitcher Scott McGough for Ramirez and left-handed reliever Randy Choate.

Eovaldi, who is 3-2 with a 3.75 ERA since the trade, was sharp in his last start, tossing 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball in Colorado.

"He was still a little bit off," said Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, noting Eovaldi's four walks. "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."

Chad Billingsley gets the ball for Los Angeles, which is coming off a devastating sweep at the hands of San Francisco. The Dodgers entered the three-game set hoping to put some distance between them and the Giants in the NL West. Instead, now it's the Giants who hold the division lead at 2 1/2 games.

Nonetheless, Billingsley has been red-hot of late, and would seem to be the right man to play stopper. A winner of six straight, he has allowed just six runs in 41 2/3 innings since the All-Star break.

His last time out, Billingsley was downright dominant, holding the Braves scoreless in seven innings of three-hit ball. In fact, he's been dominant ever since he began growing a beard.

Does he have plans to shave it before Friday's start?

"I'll keep rolling with it," he said simply following his gem in Atlanta.

Marlins: Bonifacio to DL
• The Marlins placed Emilio Bonifacio on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right knee following Game 1 of Wednesday's doubleheader against Arizona.

It marks the third trip to the DL this season for Bonifacio, who twice sprained his left thumb. Though he may not require surgery, Guillen wouldn't rule out Bonifacio missing the remainder of the season.

"If we're not going anywhere, why are we going to take a chance for him to get hurt again, to go to Minor League rehab and do all kinds of stuff to come back?" Guillen said. "To me, it's up to him. But why risk something that shouldn't be risked?"

Lefty reliever Dan Jennings was recalled from Triple-A to take Bonifacio's spot, but he was sent back down after Game 2 of the doubleheader.

Dodgers: Struggles in heart of lineup
• Both Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier have struggled mightily of late, but they may be breaking out of their respective slumps.

Kemp crushed a double in the eighth inning Wednesday night, while Ethier had two hits. Still, Kemp has just two hits in his last 26 at-bats, and Ethier has three.

"Those are the guys you count on," manager Don Mattingly said before Wednesday's loss. "We talk about it early in the year before this year started. Matt is going to have to have a big year. Andre is going to have to have a big year. We are going to need production from those guys to be a part of it."

Worth noting
• It seems the season series between the Marlins and Dodgers is always a close one. In the last five years, the two teams have met either six or seven times each year, and no team has won more than four.

• Billingsley has held Jose Reyes to just one hit -- a single -- in nine at-bats.

• Giancarlo Stanton has hit 13 homers in 27 games against NL West teams, compared with 11 homers in 50 games against the rest of the NL. Comments