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Dodgers, Cubs Take Battle National

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After trading 2-1 decisions in the first two games of this four-game series, the Dodgers and Cubs will play out the remainder of the series on national television. Today's 1:10pm is on Fox (if you are outside the Los Angeles area, click here to see if your local Fox affiliate is carrying the game).

In each of the first two games, each starting pitcher pitched seven innings, meaning Eric Stults and Ryan Dempster have a lot to live up to today. For Stults, he has more to worry about as he is not only battling a thumb injury on his pitching hand, but he is also essentially pitching for his job. With the eminent return of Hiroki Kuroda on Monday, Ken Gurnick notes this may be Stults' last start for a while:

The return of Hiroki Kuroda to the starting rotation Monday night means somebody's got to go, and the likely choice is Stults. That's in part because of a bruised thumb that will be tested Saturday, in part because the other starter on the bubble, Eric Milton, has made only one relief appearance in 12 years.

The return of Kuroda means the Dodgers will shuffle their rotation a bit, moving Clayton Kershaw's next start back a few days, wrote Ken Gurnick:

Clayton Kershaw, originally scheduled to start Monday night, will be on stand-by in the bullpen should Kuroda need early relief. That also will keep Randy Wolf and Chad Billingsley on their regular five-day cycle. If Kershaw is not needed Monday night, he would likely start Thursday night.

Outside of three games in Coors Field against a team managed by a dead man walking, the Dodger offense has struggled mightily recently. Again, not counting the games in Colorado, the club has 14 hits in their last 81 at-bats with runners in scoring position, a .173 average.

First, Orlando Hudson's 17-game hitting streak was snapped Thursday. Then, James Loney and his 11-game hitting streak fell victim to the Silver Sombrero Friday. Now, the burden of "longest current Dodger hitting streak" falls on the shoulders of both Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, who both have modest three-game streaks heading into Saturday.

The Dodgers will need their offense to get back on track this weekend, with Erics Stults and Milton on the mound. No need to worry, says Matt Kemp:

It's coming. The power is coming. I'm being more patient, staying back. I'm not worried about the home runs. They come in bunches. As long as I have good at-bats, they'll come my way. My at-bats have been way better lately.


Lineup

Los Angeles Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs

05/30/09 1:10 PM PDT

Los Angeles Dodgers Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre - LF Alfonso Soriano - LF
Rafael Furcal - SS Ryan Theriot - SS
Orlando Hudson - 2B Milton Bradley - RF
James Loney - 1B Derrek Lee - 1B
Andre Ethier - RF Reed Johnson - CF
Russell Martin - C Geovany Soto - C
Mark Loretta - 3B Bobby Scales - 2B
Matt Kemp - CF Mike Fontenot - 3B
Eric Stults - P Ryan Dempster - P

Here is a breakdown of the Dodgers' record by TV announcers:

Announcer(s) Record
Vin Scully 26-11
Eric Collins & Steve Lyons 5-5
Fox 2-0
MLB Network 1-0
ESPN NR

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