Cubs-Dodgers Preview

The Associated Press

The last time Joe Blanton was traded, he helped his new team win a World Series title.

Right now, the Los Angeles Dodgers just want him to get them back atop the NL West.

Two days after being acquired by the Dodgers, Blanton is scheduled to take the mound Sunday in an effort to help them complete a three-game series sweep of the Chicago Cubs.

Los Angeles claimed Blanton (8-9, 4.59 ERA) off waivers Friday, and made a deal to get him from Philadelphia for future considerations. The Dodgers hope Blanton can keep them in the playoff chase for both the NL West - they trail first-place San Francisco by one-half game - and the wild-card chase, where they are three games behind Pittsburgh for the second berth.

"You play for the postseason and a chance to go to the World Series. And they're in a good position," Blanton said. "They're in a good position right now. So that's always exciting. They're fighting to win out there, and that's always exciting to be a part of."

Blanton certainly knows about that after helping the Phillies win four of their five consecutive NL East crowns, and the 2008 World Series after being acquired from Oakland before the non-waiver trade deadline.

"He's a strike-thrower for sure, and a guy with experience pitching down the stretch," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's pitched in a tough city like Philadelphia and pitched them to a World Series, so he brings us a quality guy. You want to keep getting better, and this is a move that makes us a little bit better because it gives our staff a little more depth."

Blanton was available since Philadelphia is last in the East and preparing for next year. The Dodgers had already capitalized on the Phillies' situation by acquiring outfielder Shane Victorino before Tuesday's deadline.

Now, Blanton will try to win for the second time this season at Chavez Ravine. He held the Dodgers to two runs while fanning seven in eight innings of a 3-2 victory July 16.

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

He's 1-0 with a 2.91 ERA in five starts against the Cubs.

Matt Kemp is red hot at the plate, hitting .483 with two homers, seven RBIs and seven runs in seven games. The center fielder connected for a two-run homer Saturday, when the Dodgers handed the Cubs a fourth straight loss.

Chicago has been outscored 22-6 during the slide and scored two runs in the first two games of this series.

Anthony Rizzo is 2 for 16 with five strikeouts over the last four games after going 9 for 23 with four homers and 10 RBIs in the previous six. He is 3 for 19 in six career games against the Dodgers.

Justin Germano (1-1, 3.38) is slated to get a second turn in the rotation after an impressive effort in Monday's 14-4 win over Pittsburgh. The right-hander allowed two runs and four hits in five innings of his first start since Oct. 3, 2010, and picked up his first win since Aug. 28, 2007.

Germano hasn't faced the Dodgers since April 8, 2008, with San Diego. He's 0-4 with a 5.93 ERA in six games - five starts - against them, losing all three at Chavez Ravine with an 8.80 ERA.

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