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Marlins looking for some O from the top of the order

       LOS ANGELES – As 1-2 punches go, the combination of Chris Coghlan and Hanley Ramirez (and before him, Omar Infante) at the top of the Marlins’ order has been the least productive tandem in the National League so far this season.

     “To take this team to the next level, those two guys have to show more offense,” said manager Edwin Rodriguez.

    The Marlins’ .296 on-base percentage from the No. 1 spot in the lineup (predominately Coghlan) ranks 14th of 16 teams. And the team’s .577 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) from the No. 2 position ranks 15th.

   “Coghlan has been very inconsistent sometimes,” Rodriguez said. “One game he shows up and looks like the best hitter on the field, and then, for two or three games, he struggles.”

     Coghlan, who brought a .237 batting average and .304 on-base percentage into Saturday’s game against the Dodgers, said he is heeding the advice of hitting coach John Mallee, who watched tape of his 2009 season when he was named the league’s Rookie of the Year.

    He said Mallee approached him in San Francisco at the start of the road trip and suggested he “stay back more” to wait longer on pitches before swinging.

   “I was just pulling a lot more balls than I do normally,” Coghlan said.

   Ramirez has not snapped out of his hitting slump in the nine games since being moved from the No. 3 to the No. 2 spot in the lineup, where he is hitting just .200.

         "We need their offense,” Rodriguez said. “They know that.”

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          As the Dodgers series is a homecoming for quite a few Marlins players and executives (president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest was an All-City shortstop here) tickets for family and friends are in high demand.

          Mike Stanton, who is from nearby Panorama City, has his own cheering section in the right field bleachers for the three games. And catcher Brett Hayes also went to Stanton’s Notre Dame High School.

          But no one has a larger following than Ricky Nolasco, who expects a contingent of anywhere from 100 to 200 just to see him pitch Sunday.

          “I try not to let it affect me,” said Nolasco, who is from nearby Corona. “But I can’t help to get motivated from it. All my family and friends – everybody – grew up Dodgers fans. To come here and have their support is truly amazing.”

          Nolasco used to attend about 10 Dodgers games a year with his father and sat in the front row of the loge section behind home plate.

          He’ll be making only his second lifetime start at the ballpark, and first since 2008 when he did not receive a decision.

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    LINEUPS:

    Marlins: 1. Chris Coghlan, cf; 2. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 3. Logan Morrison, lf; 4. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 5. Greg Dobbs, 3b; 6. Mike Stanton, rf; 7. Omar Infante, 2b; 8. Brett Hayes, c; 9. Brian Sanches, p.

   Dodgers: 1. Rafael Furcal, ss; 2. Casey Blake, 3b; 3. Andre Ethier, rf; 4. Matt Kemp, cf; 5. James Loney, 1b 6. Jerry Sands, lf; 7. Rod Barajas, c; 8. Aaron Miles, 2b; 9. Hiroki Kuroda, p.      

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