Phillies-Dodgers Preview

The Associated Press

While Yasiel Puig has gotten plenty of attention lately for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Hanley Ramirez has been hitting even better than the rookie phenom.

Ramirez will try to continue his tear and help the Dodgers win their series against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.

Puig has played a key part in Los Angeles' 7-1 stretch but has cooled off slightly after hitting .455 in his first 17 major league games. He's batting .333 over his last eight, including 3 for 11 in the first three games of this series.

Ramirez, meanwhile, is 20 for 40 with five homers and 14 RBIs in his past 12.

The shortstop went 3 for 4 with a three-run homer Saturday, helping the Dodgers (37-43) bounce back from a historic defeat. A 16-1 loss Friday to Philadelphia (39-43) was their most lopsided at home since moving from Brooklyn after the 1957 season.

Los Angeles nearly blew the win, with closer Kenley Jansen giving up the tying run in the ninth, but A.J. Ellis' single in the bottom of the inning sent home Ramirez with the winning run.

"He's one of the elite hitters in all of baseball," Ellis said. "He's also a phenomenal defender and that anchor at shortstop that we sorely missed."

Ramirez is batting .357 with five homers and nine RBIs in his last eight games against Philadelphia. He's 8 for 30 (.267) with three doubles and a home run all-time versus Phillies scheduled starter Kyle Kendrick (7-4, 3.46 ERA).

The Dodgers, though, have often hammered the right-hander. Kendrick is 3-4 with a 7.97 ERA in seven career starts against Los Angeles, losing the most recent one June 6, 2012, when he gave up five runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-5 defeat.

Kendrick, however, heads into this matchup 1-0 with a 1.72 ERA in his last two outings. He gave up two runs over eight innings Tuesday in a 6-2 win in San Diego, notching his first victory since June 3.

That's the same day Stephen Fife (2-2, 3.41) was recalled from the minors, and he'll try to provide another solid outing for Los Angeles on Sunday. The right-hander is 2-2 with a 2.73 ERA in five starts since returning to the majors.

Fife earned the win in Tuesday's 6-5 victory over San Francisco, giving up three runs over 6 2-3 innings. He allowed more than two runs for only the second time in 11 major league starts.

Fife did not get a decision in his major league debut and only matchup against Philadelphia on July 17 despite allowing one run over six innings.

He'll next face a team that's batting .335 in its last four games and hoping to see a rejuvenated Ryan Howard on Sunday.

Howard, 0 for 14 in his last three games, was given the past two days off because Los Angeles was starting a pair of left-handers.

"I know he can still be a productive hitter. When I say productive I mean like power and knocking in runs and things like that," manager Charlie Manuel told the team's website. "He's sitting there with 40 RBIs. If we just run a streak where he could get hot he could pull right up in the there. I think the talent is still there. I think the power is still there."

Howard, though, is a career .199 hitter against the Dodgers, his worst showing against any NL club. He went 0 for 1 with two walks against Fife in July.

Philadelphia is looking to avoid losing a series at Dodger Stadium for the first time since 2008.

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