Willis in Slump

The Los Angeles Dodgers hope playing one of their favorite opponents can help them get back on track and carry some momentum into the All-Star break as they open a three-game series against the Florida Marlins on Friday.

The Dodgers (48-38) fell to Atlanta 8-6 on Thursday, remaining one game behind first-place San Diego in the NL West.

Oddsmakers have made Los Angeles -130 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 76% of bets for this game have been placed on Los Angeles -130 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Los Angeles has dropped back-to-back games following a three-game winning streak, and has not lost three in a row since being swept by the Padres June 5-7.

The Dodgers have had plenty of success against the Marlins (40-46) lately, winning seven of 10 over them since the start of last season, and 16 of their last 23 over Florida at Dodgers Stadium dating back to 1999.

Jeff Kent is 11-for-30 (.367) with three doubles, four RBIs and seven runs in his last seven games, and is 7-for-23 (.304) with three doubles and 10 RBIs in six career games against the Marlins at Dodger Stadium.

Dontrelle Willis (7-7, 4.65 ERA) looks to avoid losing his fifth straight decision against a team that has frustrated him throughout his career. Willis has not won since May 29 against the Chicago Cubs, going 0-4 with a 4.22 ERA in his last six outings.

He got off to a good start against the Braves on Sunday, allowing two hits and no runs, but was pulled after just four innings because of an 89-minute rain delay. The Marlins ended up winning 6-5 in 10 innings.

Willis also has not had much luck against the Dodgers in his career. The left-hander is 1-5 with a 7.11 ERA in six starts against Los Angeles, his worst record and ERA against any opponent he has faced more than once.

He is 0-2 with a 4.97 ERA in two career starts at Dodger Stadium, but is 5-2 with a 4.27 ERA in eight road starts this season.

In his only start against Los Angeles this year, he yielded four runs, six hits and five walks in seven innings of a 5-3 loss on May 9.

Miguel Cabrera, Florida's first four-time All-Star, was hitless in four at-bats in Thursday's 3-2 win over San Diego, and is mired in an 0-for-10 slump. Cabrera, who will compete in Monday's home run derby, is hitless in seven career at-bats against Friday's starter Chad Billingsley (5-0, 3.44), who looks to build off one of the best outings of his career.

In his third start of the season, Billingsley allowed three hits, did not walk a batter and matched a career high by striking out nine in seven innings of a 5-0 victory over San Diego on Sunday. Billingsley, who made 23 appearances before joining the rotation, won for the first time as a starter this year.

"I felt really comfortable," the 22-year-old right-hander told the Dodgers' official Web site. "The first two times out is getting adjusted to everything and getting back into the starting routine. The main thing is taking the mound and keeping the team in the game."

Billingsley pitched a scoreless inning of relief against the Marlins this season, and was stellar in his two starts against them as a rookie last year, giving up one run and six hits in 13 innings to win both starts.

Florida split its four-game series with the Padres, but is still just 4-8 since June 23.

"We have to not look behind us, and go to L.A. and go from there," Jeremy Hermida told the Marlins' official Web site.

Hermida hit his eighth homer on Thursday, and is 6-for-17 (.353) with two homers and five RBIs in five games this month.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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