"His [opponents' average] goes down late in the game. Some guys, the second or third time around the order, their averages go up. That tells you he stays strong and has a mix of pitches," Mattingly said. "I'm getting better about knowing when it's time [to lift a pitcher]. As everything is getting slower for me, I'm able to look at the numbers, look at his stuff, pay attention to body language, who's coming up and how he got them out earlier in the game."
Mattingly will be able to put that knowledge to good use on Saturday, when Blanton squares off against the Marlins and right-hander Ricky Nolasco at Marlins Park.
Blanton is still looking for his first win as a Dodger, taking a no-decision on Sunday against the Cubs in his Los Angeles debut. Blanton tossed six innings, allowing two runs on five hits. However, the right-hander did walk three batters for just the second time all season.
Meanwhile, Nolasco will take the hill for Miami, ready to break out of his career-long five-game skid.
The losses have come in five consecutive starts for Nolasco, dating back to July 15, with opponents hitting .325 and his ERA at 7.16 during the stretch.
The right-hander took a loss on Sunday to the Nationals, tossing six innings and allowing all four runs in the second frame for his 11th loss of the season.
"Ricky threw the ball better today than he was the last couple of outings," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said after the start. "Very tough second inning. He left some balls over the middle of the plate. I thought he was going to be worse, knowing it was hot and humid."
Dodgers: Hanley returns to Miami
Hanley Ramirez made his way into Marlins Park on Friday for the first time since being traded to the Dodgers.
Glad to be back, it marked the first time Ramirez had seen his family since the July 25 trade to Los Angeles. He also hit the the visitors' clubhouse, talking with old teammates and Guillen.
"It's going to be a little weird, definitely," Ramirez said before the game. "But at the end of the day, I play for the Dodgers and I'm going for the win. But I spent seven years here. It's going to be a little weird playing against old teammates of many years. But seven years, that's in the past."
Ramirez finished the game 3-for-5 with two RBIs.
Marlins: Reyes gets breather
With his career-best 26-game hit streak behind him, Jose Reyes was finally given a breather on Friday to rest his sore right hand.
The Marlins shortstop was out of the lineup against the Dodgers, resting his hand for the first time since he jammed it on Aug. 3 against Washington.
Reyes, who hadn't missed a game since April 27 against Arizona, said the swelling in the hand was down Friday, and he expects to be back in the lineup Saturday.
"He's fine," Guillen said of his star shortstop. "This is just prevention. It's fine to play. I just don't want him to get worse and miss that many days."
Veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu has cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment by the Dodgers to Triple-A Albuquerque. Abreu, designated for assignment Aug. 1 to make room for Shane Victorino, is the second veteran to accept a Minor League assignment in as many days, joining Tony Gwynn.
The Marlins have dropped four of their last five contests to the Dodgers, but have won seven of the last 12.