Ricky Nolasco has attended games at Dodger Stadium since he was a 5-year-old and has pitched there as an opponent twice with the Marlins. But Sunday will mark a dream come true, when he takes the mound for the first time as a member of the home team.
"I've been a fan my whole life," Nolasco said. "Everybody is so happy: parents, family, friends, people I grew up with, everybody from where I'm from. It's going to be a lot of fun for them. I just want to make my family and my friends proud and try to help this team win."
Nolasco grew up in nearby Rialto, Calif., and said he expects hundreds of family and friends to be in the stands on Sunday.
In his first start for the Dodgers, Nolasco allowed just one run over seven innings and earned the victory in Arizona on Tuesday. Los Angeles acquired Nolasco for three pitching prospects a week ago to help bolster the rotation for a club that has climbed the National League West standings of late.
The Dodgers own the Major League's best record since June 22 at 17-4. Much of that has come against divisional opponents, against whom Los Angeles has won 14 of its past 17.
On the season, Nolasco is 6-8 with a 3.70 ERA.
Dodgers: Injuries piling up
Los Angeles has faced injury concerns most of the season, and those issues haven't quelled, even during the recent hot streak.
Yasiel Puig sat out Saturday's 1-0 win over the Rockies with a bruised left hip. He played through the injury for over a week before manager Don Mattingly removed him from the lineup.
Outfielder Carl Crawford missed his fourth consecutive game on Saturday with a sore lower back. Fellow outfielder Matt Kemp was placed on the disabled list with a shoulder issue Monday.
After many wondered just a week ago how Mattingly would fit Puig, Kemp, Crawford and Andre Ethier into the lineup, the Dodgers fielded an outfield of Ethier, Skip Schumaker and Jerry Hairston Jr. on Saturday.
Rockies: Chacin takes the mound
While Nolasco is the headliner on Sunday, the Rockies send right-hander Jhoulys Chacin to the mound in a ballpark that has been a haven for him in his career.
Chacin is 3-2 with a 2.84 ERA in six career outings at Dodger Stadium, and will aim for a series split on Sunday.
In his last start, Chacin was frustrated after manager Walt Weiss pulled him after throwing 97 pitches.
"I knew they were going to take me out," Chacin said. "[Eric] Stults threw 126 pitches and threw a complete game. That's just different styles and sides. That's what made me frustrated. You just do the most you can do."
In six innings, Chacin allowed one run on five hits and struck out four.
• Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez enters play on Sunday with a .395 average. He could become the first Dodgers player to enter the All-Star break with a .400 average. Mike Piazza's .377 average in 1995 is the current best at the break.
• Dodgers relievers have posted a 0.73 combined ERA in their last nine games. Batters have hit just .143 (12-for-84) with 28 strikeouts in that span.