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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, June 5th (All times eastern)

Los Angeles Dodgers (34-21) at Philadelphia Phillies (28-28), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Los Angeles - Chad Billingsley (2-4, 4.09) Philadelphia - Cliff Lee (0-2, 3.00)

(Sports Network) - Winless through his first eight starts of the season, things may finally be getting ready to align for Phillies starter Cliff Lee.

The former Cy Young Award winner takes the hill for Philadelphia this evening in the second of four straight games with the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers.

Lee had never before gone more than three starts before picking up his first victory of a season, but is 0-2 despite a solid 3.00 earned run average so far in 2012. He did not factor into a second straight outing on Wednesday at the Mets, allowing three runs over six innings and striking out seven in his team's eventual 10-6 win.

"Yeah, I'd like to have a few wins, but what can you do?" Lee told Philadelphia's website. "I can only control what I can control -- throw strikes and give the team a chance to win and get us as deep into the game as I can. I'm going to keep doing that regardless of what happens."

What could happen for the left-hander is the start of a hot streak. After all, Lee began June of last season with seven scoreless innings against the Dodgers, striking out 10 to begin a month in which he went 5-0 with a 0.21 ERA in five starts. Lee ended the month with three straight shutouts and gave up just one run and struck out 29 in 42 innings.

The 33-year-old is also 2-0 with a 0.40 ERA in three career meetings with the Dodgers, allowing a run over 22 1/3 frames.

Though he opened the season with two victories, Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley looks to halt a nine-start winless drought this evening.

The right-hander has lost four times since his last win on April 11 while giving up four or more earned runs four times in that span. He is coming off Thursday's loss to the Brewers in which the 27-year-old was charged with four runs on six hits and two walks. Billingsley did strike out eight for a second straight outing.

Billingsley dipped to 2-4 with a 4.09 ERA in 11 starts on the season and is 1-2 with a 3.31 ERA in six lifetime encounters with the Phillies.

The Dodgers hope to win two straight tonight for the first time since May 26-27 after winning last night's opener 4-3. Los Angeles had lost six of seven coming in but the victory maintained its three-game lead over San Francisco for first place in the National League West.

After Dee Gordon opened the top of the ninth with a triple off Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, Elian Herrera ripped a run-scoring single to snap a tie game and Kenley Jansen retired the Phillies in order in the bottom of the ninth for his seventh save.

"I caught too much of the plate," remarked Papelbon. "I have to be able to execute my pitches better than that."

Juan Rivera and Bobby Abreu also had an RBI apiece for the Dodgers.

"It was a good win for us," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly added. "We've been in a bit of a struggle. To be able to come here and jump out early, and those guys get right back in it. To be able to hang in there until the end was a great sign."

Placido Polanco hit a two-run homer for the Phillies, who have lost three in a row to fall back to .500 at 28-28. Freddy Galvis went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored.

The Phillies are 9-4 versus the Dodgers since the start of the 2010 season, winning four of seven at home in that span.

06/05 10:50:20 ET