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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, August 5th (All times eastern)

Chicago Cubs (43-62) at Los Angeles Dodgers (58-50), 4:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Justin Germano (1-1, 3.38) Los Angeles - Joe Blanton (8-9, 4.59)

(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Dodgers will send newcomer Joe Blanton to the mound this afternoon in the finale of a three-game series versus the Chicago Cubs at Chavez Ravine.

Blanton was acquired by the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday and appears anxious to get going in his new digs.

"This is a great place to pitch," Blanton said. "Being in California, you get that cool air at night. The ball doesn't travel as well as it does in Philly."

The right-hander has pitched to an 8-9 record with a 4.59 earned run average in 21 games (20 starts) this season. Blanton defeated the Cubs already this season and is 1-0 against them with a 2.91 ERA in five career starts. He suffered a hard-luck loss last Saturday in a 2-1 setback at Atlanta, allowing two runs in seven innings with seven strikeouts.

Blanton has fanned at least six batters in 10 straight starts. Stephen Fife was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Blanton on the roster.

Clayton Kershaw struck out seven batters and allowed just one run in seven innings of last night's 3-1 win over the Cubs to set up Sunday's possible sweep. He scattered three hits and walked two batters, and added two hits at the plate. Ronald Belisario tossed a scoreless eighth and Kenley Jansen picked up his 21st save with a pair of Ks in the ninth.

Matt Kemp homered for Los Angeles, which has won five of eight games and remained one-half game behind San Francisco for the NL West lead. The Dodgers will next host Colorado for three games and are 2-3 on a nine-game residency.

Kemp is batting .483 with two homers, four doubles, seven RBI and seven runs in his last seven games.

Chicago will try to avoid the sweep and put the brakes on a four-game slide this afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

Chris Volstad fell to 0-8 on the season on Saturday despite allowing just two runs in seven innings.

"Volstad pitched great. It was as good as we've seen," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "It's unfortunate he had to be matched up against last year's Cy Young winner."

Alfonso Soriano knocked in the lone run for Chicago, which will visit San Diego for three games after this set.

Taking the mound for the Cubs today will be Justin Germano. Germano posted a win his last time out in a 14-4 romp of Pittsburgh, as he limited the Pirates to two runs in five innings. He is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in two games (1 start) this season and is searching for his first win over the Dodgers.

In six career games (5 starts) against Los Angeles, the right-handed Germano is 0-4 with a 5.93 ERA.

Chicago won two of three over L.A. in the Windy City back in May.

08/05 11:36:23 ET