Dodgers-Phillies Preview

The Philadelphia Phillies finally came through at the plate to

avoid a fifth straight loss, but the Los Angeles Dodgers have been

showing even more consistent signs that their long-struggling

offense has awakened.

Cliff Lee, meanwhile, is hoping his latest start was nothing

more than an aberration.

A poor outing should have the former Cy Young Award winner

anxious for redemption Monday night as the Phillies host the

surging Dodgers, who have scored at least seven runs in winning

five of their last seven.

The Phillies (35-24) totaled seven runs during a four-game skid

that ended with Sunday’s 7-3 win in Pittsburgh, which saw the top

four hitters in their order go 9 for 19 with five RBIs.

“After today,” said Ryan Howard, who drove in three runs, “the

last four days don’t matter anymore.”

The Dodgers (28-32) averaged just 2.5 runs while going 4-10 from

May 14-28, but closed the month by scoring at least seven in three

straight victories. After beginning June by totaling one run in a

pair of losses, Los Angeles struck again over the weekend in

Cincinnati, getting six RBIs from Matt Kemp in Saturday’s 11-8,

11-inning win and riding six extra-base hits to Sunday’s 9-6

victory.

“I feel real comfortable right now,” said Kemp, who homered

three times in Cincinnati and has 12 of his NL-high 48 RBIs in his

last five games. “I think a lot of us are. We’ve been swinging the

bats really well.”

Surprisingly, teams are swinging the bat well against Lee (4-5,

3.94 ERA) lately. Three of the eight homers Lee has allowed have

come in his last two starts. He gave up two Tuesday at Washington,

where seven hits, three walks and six runs over 5 1-3 innings led

to an ugly 10-2 loss.

“I’d like to erase this from my memory, wish it never happened,

but can’t do that,” Lee said. “It’s reality. They’re professional

hitters and if you continue to get behind a little bit and continue

to throw balls over the plate, they’re going to score runs.”

The Dodgers shouldn’t get their hopes up of Lee having another

rough outing. The left-hander is 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA in four starts

following a loss, and his ERA at Citizens Bank Park is nearly half

(2.72) of his road ERA (5.35).

The only time Lee has faced Los Angeles came with Cleveland on

June 20, 2008, the year he won the AL Cy Young Award. He held the

Dodgers to a run and six hits over 7 1-3 innings, but left without

a decision.

Lee could see a Los Angeles team with more offensive options

than manager Don Mattingly’s been used to. Both Juan Uribe

(strained abdominal) and Marcus Thames (strained quad) should be

activated from the disabled list Monday, though they’re hitting

.220 and .176, respectively.

Ted Lilly (4-4, 4.22) would certainly love to see some similar

run support to what he got Tuesday against Colorado, but he didn’t

need that much help. Lilly held the Rockies to two runs and four

hits over seven innings and struck out a season-high eight in an

8-2 win.

Lilly hasn’t had much success against the Phillies, going 1-4

with a 5.91 ERA in six starts. He’s 0-2 with a 12.96 ERA in his

last two outings in Philadelphia, where he’s given up four homers

in 8 1-3 innings.

Lilly might get a break Monday if Jimmy Rollins can’t play. The

one-time MVP sat out Sunday’s win with a bruised knee and is day to

day, though he doesn’t think he’ll have to go on the disabled

list.