8/22/2013 12:09 A.M. ET
Success brings out Dodgers opponents' best
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Some of the Marlins haven't hidden their anticipation of getting a chance to knock off the Dodgers. Manager Don Mattingly said if opponents are raising their game when they play the Dodgers, it's only the price of success.
"It's natural," Mattingly said. "I played on bad teams in New York. When the A's came to town, it was like, 'Yeah, we've got a chance to play a team in the race.' We've got guys with names, guys they've seen before. We have to be ready for that."
Miami has the worst record in the league, but the Marlins have been a .500 team over the last two months.
"We're getting national attention for what we've been doing, so when we come to town, it's the Dodgers," said Mattingly. "That's a compliment to us, but a challenge we have to live up to. And I haven't felt our guys have been flat. I don't feel I have to remind them. Any win we put up on the board is one we don't have to get later."
Puig shakes off questions about limp
MIAMI -- Yasiel Puig not only has a flair for the dramatic, he has a flair for drama.
He limped during three at-bats Wednesday night, and manager Don Mattingly confirmed that Puig had "something behind his calf area." But when reporters asked Puig after Wednesday night's game about his leg, interpreter Roman Barinas relayed this response:
"No. He doesn't have anything bothering him."
Puig hit the first-base bag hard with his right foot after hitting infield grounders his first two at-bats and pulled up gimpy both times, but remained in the game. He tapped back to the pitcher in his third at-bat and jogged to first base.
"We'll see tomorrow how it turns out," Mattingly said of Puig's leg.
At least Puig was in the starting lineup Wednesday night. On Tuesday, Puig was left out of the lineup because of an 0-for-11 slump. Then he showed up late to the ballpark and was fined. Then, after entering the game in a double-switch, Puig hit a tiebreaking home run.
Hanley tries to drop liner, turn double play
MIAMI -- Hanley Ramirez, the hitting star for the Dodgers in Wednesday night's 4-1 win, tried to get cute in the field, but umpires would have none of it.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, with the Dodgers leading, 3-1, the Marlins had a leadoff single by Ed Lucas and Adeiny Hechavarria hit a low line drive at Ramirez.
The Dodgers shortstop bent at the knees, caught the ball, then intentionally dropped it, picked it up and flipped to second baseman Mark Ellis in an attempt to start a double play as Lucas had to freeze at first base and Hechavarria had stopped because he thought the ball was caught.
But second-base umpire and crew chief John Hirschbeck immediately stopped play, ruling the batter out and allowing Lucas to remain at first base, where he was stranded when Jake Marisnick lined out to left field and Koyie Hill grounded out.
Baseball Rule 6.05(l) states that a batter is out when: "An infielder intentionally drops a fair fly ball or line drive, with first, first and second, first and third, or first, second and third base occupied before two are out. The ball is dead and runner or runners shall return to their original base or bases."
Against his former team, Ramirez went 2-for-4 with an RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base.
Hot-hitting Uribe gets breather before day game
MIAMI -- It's testimony to Juan Uribe's comeback this year that reporters would actually ask manager Don Mattingly why Uribe wasn't in Wednesday night's lineup against the Marlins.
Last year, a healthy Uribe with a .191 average went the last six weeks of the season without being in the lineup.
"Day game tomorrow," said Mattingly, who tries to avoid playing his 30-something veterans in back-to-back night game/day games. "With [Clayton] Kershaw tomorrow, a left-hander, I want Juan in there, and I can't push him to go night and day."
Assuming the Marlins load their lineup with right-handed hitters, Mattingly and Kershaw are happy to have Uribe at third base. Uribe is second in the league in fielding at his position. Offensively, he's 10-for-17 on the trip to raise his average to .283, second highest on the club to Adrian Gonzalez's .298 for players that have been on the active roster since Opening Day.
Mattingly said that by resting Uribe, he's able to keep sharp Jerry Hairston, who started at third base Wednesday night.
"He's a decent matchup with Nathan [Eovaldi, the former Dodger who started Wednesday night for Miami]," said Mattingly.
Mattingly plays percentages with Belisario, 'pen
MIAMI -- In the bottom of the eighth inning Tuesday night, Ronald Belisario retired the first two batters he faced, but when left-handed pinch-hitter Juan Pierre was announced, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly brought in left-hander Paco Rodriguez.
Miami countered with right-handed hitter Jake Marisnick. Rodriguez struck him out, but Belisario complained to Mattingly that he should have been allowed to stay in the game and face Pierre.
"Belly got mad I took him out," said Mattingly. "I think he can get guys out, but I was going with the percentages. [Left-handed] guys hit close to .300 against him. I told Belly, if it had been a left-hander then a right-hander, I would have done it backwards and gone to Belly. I'm still playing the percentages.
"I know a right-hander would rather see Paco than Belly. I don't mind when they get mad. Kersh [Clayton Kershaw] gets mad. That doesn't bother me."
As for Belisario, left-handed hitters are hitting .303 off him, compared to right-handers at .252. The addition of Brian Wilson could provide Mattingly with the luxury of turning Belisario into a right-handed relief specialist, used only to face one or two of the best right-handed hitters in the opponent's lineup.
In Wilson's career, right-handed hitters are batting .251 against him, and lefties are batting .221.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.