Phillies Face Hot Dodgers

After extending their winning streak to a season-high five games, the Los Angeles Dodgers look to keep rolling as they continue a three-game home series against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday.

Los Angeles (53-40) has taken the NL West lead with its longest win streak since it closed last season with seven straight victories. It has a one-game advantage over second-place San Diego.

The Dodgers, who are averaging 8.2 runs per game while batting .371 during their current run, matched their highest scoring output of the year with a 10-3 win in Monday's opener.

"We've been swinging the bats pretty well, so I knew we were going to score some runs," said Los Angeles right fielder Matt Kemp, who hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning. "But I didn't know we were going to break out like that."

The Phillies (46-46), meanwhile, have been outscored 20-5 in losing back-to-back games. They have stranded 17 baserunners in those contests.

Oddsmakers have made Los Angeles -135 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 67% of bets for this game have been placed on Los Angeles -135 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

All-Star second baseman Chase Utley, though, has two hits Monday and is 10-for-19 (.526) with eight RBIs since the All-Star break.

Utley, batting .344 against left-handers, will try to keep his hot streak going against Dodgers southpaw Mark Hendrickson (4-4, 3.92 ERA), who is looking for his third straight victory.

Hendrickson won his last start by allowing two runs over five innings of two-run ball on July 8, then got the decision out of the bullpen in the Dodgers' 8-7, 12-inning win at San Francisco on Saturday after holding the Giants scoreless in the 10th and 11th frames.

Hendrickson, who has never faced Philadelphia, will match up against the Phillies' J.D. Durbin (0-2, 13.50) , who is making his first career appearance against the Dodgers.

Durbin has a 3.86 ERA in three relief appearances since his first start of the season. In that game, the right-hander gave up six runs in 4 2-3 innings to lose to the New York Mets on June 29.

If Durbin struggles again, the Phillies will look to a bullpen that could be bolstered by the return of Tom Gordon, who was activated from the disabled list Sunday but still has not pitched since May 1.

Gordon, who landed on the DL due to inflammation in his pitching shoulder, had a 4.82 ERA and three blown saves in nine appearances this year after converting 34 saves with a 3.34 ERA in 2006.

"I'm excited about today," Gordon told the Phillies' official Web site. "The last couple times I've gotten a chance to throw the ball, it's kind of been a bit of a roller coaster. But for the most part, I felt good. Things have been going well."

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

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