Matt Kemp sits again as Dodgers take on Phillies

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Kemp is out of the starting lineup in back-to-back games for the first time in 2014.

One day after Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said, "Obviously center field is a position we continue to look at and we have to get better out there," Matt Kemp sits again in the middle game of a three-game series against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Andre Ethier gets the start in center field for the Dodgers

It marks the first time since his April 4 return from the disabled list that Kemp is out of the starting lineup for two straight games. Kemp started 34 of 43 games in center field before Friday, and one more game at designated hitter.

Ethier is batting sixth for the Dodgers, with left fielder Carl Crawford hitting fifth for the second time in his career, and the first time since Aug. 16, 2011 with Boston. Crawford homered on Friday night and in his last 16 games is hitting .415/.436/.660 with four home runs.

But Crawford isn't even the hottest hitter in the outfield. Yasiel Puig had three hits and two walks on Friday, reaching base five times in a game for the second time this season and in his career. Puig's .438 on-base percentage ranks second in the majors to the insanely hot Troy Tulowitzki (.479).

Puig has reached base via hit, walk or hit by pitch in 24 straight games, the sixth-longest streak in baseball this season. He's hitting .411/.509/.747 during that span with eight home runs and 28 RBI.

They will get their crack at 25-year-old right-handed pitcher David Buchanan, making his major league debut. He was 5-1 with a 3.98 ERA in nine starts with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. His last start was Sunday, when he allowed four runs and five hits in just one inning.

The Phillies called Buchanan up on Saturday morning and to make room placed relief pitcher Luis Garcia on the disabled list with a right forearm strain.

Dan Haren, starting for the Dodgers on Saturday, continues to chase April. He has lasted six innings in six straight starts and in eight of his nine outings this year (and 5... innings in his other start), but the performance in May has shown a decline.

Haren put up a 2.03 ERA in five April starts with a 20.8 percent strikeout rate. He struck out seven batters in his first start of May, but has struck out seven total batters in his three starts since. Haren's ERA in May is 4.56, and his strikeout rate has plummeted to 12.7 percent, and that's including the one seven-strikeout game.

Against the Phillies at Dodger Stadium on April 24, Haren struck out seven in a quality start, allowing three runs (one earned) in six innings in a no-decision.

Three Phillies have faced Haren at least 20 plate appearances in their careers. Marlon Byrd is 12-for-24 (.500) with four doubles, two home runs and a triple against him, Jimmy Rollins is 5-for-21 (.238) with three doubles and a walk, and Chase Utley is 5-for-18 (.278) with a home run and a double.

The Dodgers are 7-7 in day games this season, and 6-2 on Saturdays. They have won seven of their last eight games in Philadelphia, dating back to 2012.

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