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National League Preview from The Sports Network

Friday, May 16th (All times Eastern)

Cincinnati Reds (18-21) at Philadelphia Phillies (17-21), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Cincinnati - Alfredo Simon (4-2, 2.89) Philadelphia - Kyle Kendrick (0-3, 3.98)

( - Right-hander Kyle Kendrick tries again to end a drought that stretches back to last summer on Friday night when the Philadelphia Phillies host the Cincinnati Reds to open a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies enter the series in the basement of the National League East Division after a stretch that's included nine losses in 13 games, while the Reds are in the middle of a cluttered five-team pack in the Central Division -- seven games behind the front-running Milwaukee Brewers.

Kendrick has gone 14 starts without a victory since a 9-8 defeat of the Chicago Cubs last August.

He's 0-8 in those winless outings while posting a 4.91 earned run average.

The Phillies have scored just seven runs in the right-hander's last four starts, and he got a no-decision in the most recent outing -- a 5-4 Phillies win against the New York Mets in which he allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings.

He's 0-3 in his last five starts against the Reds while getting just four runs of offense.

Cincinnati counters with right-hander Alfredo Simon, who had successfully made the transition from reliever to starter before being ripped in his most recent effort -- an 11-2 loss to Colorado on Saturday.

"He made some mistakes up in the zone," manager Bryan Price said. "When he is on you see batters pound the ball in the ground. He just couldn't get the ball down."

Simon has never started against the Phillies.

The Reds have lost five in a row on the road while scoring just 11 runs as it begins a six-game trip.

On Thursday in Cincinnati, Rene Rivera and Yonder Alonso both homered and drove in two runs to back a solid start from Tyson Ross, as the San Diego Padres secured a split of a doubleheader against the Reds with a 6-1 win in the nightcap from Great American Ball Park.

Johnny Cueto spun a three-hit shutout to lead Cincinnati to a 5-0 victory in the opener of the twinbill.

Brandon Phillips plated the lone second-game run for Cincinnati.

Reds starter Jeff Francis (0-1) was recalled from Triple-A Louisville prior to the game and allowed three runs on five hits over five innings in his first big league start of the season.

On Wednesday in Philadelphia, Albert Pujols doubled and scored twice and the LA Angels of Anaheim defeated the Phillies, 3-0.

Chase Utley went 2-for-4 with two doubles to lead Philadelphia offensively. Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz supplied the Phillies' other three hits as the offense could not get anything going.

A.J. Burnett (2-3) allowed all three runs on seven hits with five walks across five frames for the Phillies, who dropped their third straight overall and eighth consecutive interleague game.

"He was just a little off with his control early on," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He threw about 78 pitches through three innings and that was quite a bit."

The Phillies lost four of six against the Reds last season.

05/16 10:52:32 ET