Dodgers-Phillies Preview

The Associated Press

Matt Kemp is out, but Elian Herrera is providing an unexpected offensive boost for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Herrera looks to continue coming up big as the visiting Dodgers try to open this four-game set against the Philadelphia Phillies with a third straight victory Wednesday night.

Los Angeles (35-21) is without one of the most feared hitters in baseball as Kemp is on the disabled list with a nagging hamstring injury.

The Dodgers were in the midst of a five-game losing streak when the All-Star center fielder got hurt last Wednesday, but they've won three of their last four thanks in part to the largely unknown Herrera.

Herrera has four hits in the last three games, including two doubles and five RBIs. He connected for a two-run double in the eighth inning to rally Los Angeles for a 2-1 win over Philadelphia (28-29) on Tuesday, a day after his RBI single in the ninth sent the Dodgers to a 4-3 victory.

"I love it. I love it," Herrera said of his latest big hit. "I knew I could hit the ball."

Herrera is hitting .304 with nine RBIs in 20 games since being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque after waiting six years to reach the majors. He's started at third base, second and in center field.

While Herrera has given the Dodgers a lift at the plate, Chris Capuano (7-2, 2.50 ERA) has been a pleasant surprise during his first two months in Los Angeles' rotation.

The left-hander is trying to rebound from his worst performance of the season, however. He was tagged for seven runs - four earned - and seven hits with four walks in 5 1-3 innings of a 13-3 loss at Colorado on Friday.

Capuano had allowed a total of eight runs over his previous seven outings.

"I wasn't real happy the way I handled it mentally out there," Capuano said. "I was getting real frustrated with myself. My command was just off. That's frustrating to me, that I couldn't grind it out and get through that sixth inning and keep us in the game."

Capuano is 0-1 with a 1.64 ERA in two starts against Philadelphia since coming back in 2010 from his second Tommy John surgery.

The Phillies, meanwhile, have matched their season-high four-game slide. They haven't endured a longer skid since dropping eight in a row Sept. 18-24.

Giving the ball to Kyle Kendrick (2-4, 4.02) may be just what they need to avoid extending this tough stretch.

The right-hander is trying to win three consecutive starts for the first time since Aug. 21-31, 2007, his rookie season.

He got closer to that mark Friday, allowing two runs and scattering eight hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-4 victory over Miami. That came six days after Kendrick tossed a seven-hitter in a 4-0 win at St. Louis.

He's 4-3 with an 8.01 ERA in seven games - six starts - versus the Dodgers, but hasn't started against them since a win on Aug. 31, 2010. James Loney, who's found himself on Los Angeles' bench the first two games of this series, is 8 for 14 with two homers and two doubles versus Kendrick.

Jimmy Rollins is hitting .387 with five RBIs in his last seven games after collecting four hits over the first two of this series. The shortstop has a .440 average in his past seven meetings with the Dodgers.

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