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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, April 18th (All times Eastern)

Milwaukee Brewers (7-8) at Philadelphia Phillies (10-4), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Milwaukee - Shaun Marcum (2-1, 2.55) Philadelphia - Joe Blanton (0-1, 10.45)

(Sports Network) - Shaun Marcum will try to play the role of stopper this evening when the Milwaukee Brewers kick off a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Marcum has his sights set on a third straight winning start as he hasn't lost since his Brewers debut on April 2. The right-hander is coming off a 6-0 win at Pittsburgh on Wednesday, yielding four hits and a walk over seven scoreless innings.

Marcum's lowered his season earned run average to 2.55 and is 2-0 with a 3.46 earned run average in three career starts versus the Phillies.

"I tried not to do too much," Marcum told Milwaukee's website. "Just throw the ball two seams and go for strikes, let the ball and the action take care of itself -- and for the most part, things worked out our way."

The Brewers hope Marcum can stop their overall slide at three straight after they were swept by the Nationals. Milwaukee dropped Friday's opener on Friday in extra innings and was then swept in a doubleheader on Sunday due to a rainout the day before.

Milwaukee managed just five runs in the two games, getting held to just Yuniesky Betancourt's RBI single in the fourth inning of a 5-1 loss in Sunday's second game.

Second baseman Rickie Weeks had a hit in both games and is hitting .293 (12- for-41) over a 10-game hitting streak.

Outfielder Nyjer Morgan was held out of the starting lineup of both games due to a bruised right thigh and remains out.

The Brewers will visit a Phillies club tonight that has won five of their last seven, splitting a rain-shortened set with the Marlins over the weekend. Philadelphia earned the split with Sunday's 3-2 win, going ahead on Carlos Ruiz's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Placido Polanco added his first home run since July 22 and Cole Hamels pitched seven innings of two-run ball in a no-decision.

"They hit a few good pitches that I made, but then I also left a few pitches up and they were able to make the best of it," Hamels said. "That just shows the type of hitters that they have. If you're able to make good pitches they can still hit the ball."

Few teams have had trouble hitting the ball against starter Joe Blanton, who will look to get on track for Philadelphia today.

The 30-year-old righty is 0-1 with a 10.45 ERA through two starts, yielding seven runs over 4 1/3 innings of his season debut versus the Mets on April 6. He was then tagged for five runs on seven hits over six innings of a 7-4 loss in Washington last Tuesday.

Blanton has pitched to a 5.61 ERA in four career starts against Milwaukee, going 2-1.

The Phillies won their first five meetings with the Brewers last year before losing the final matchup of the season on Sept. 5 in Philadelphia.

04/18 10:22:42 ET

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