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Dodgers Begin Post-Manny Era With Series Against Their Nemesis, The Phillies

(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Phillies are hoping a recent sweep of the talented San Diego Padres will catapult them back into the postseason. Currently standing in the way of that goal are the Los Angeles Dodgers, who will welcome the two-time defending National League champions to Chavez Ravine tonight in the opener of a three-game series.

Before winning all three games at San Diego's Petco Park over the weekend, the Phillies were swept in four games at home by the also-ran Houston Astros. Great pitching from Philadelphia's starters led to the recent sweep, which was finished off in Sunday's performance by Cole Hamels. Hamels fired eight shutout innings and struck out six Padres for the win before Ryan Madson closed the door in the ninth to preserve the 5-0 shutout.

"After the last four games we had at home, we're just trying to get back to the way we know we're capable of playing," Hamels said.

Mike Sweeney hit a two-run homer, his first with the club, and Jayson Werth contributed a solo home run for the Phillies, who lead the National League Wild Card race by 1 1/2 games ahead of San Francisco. The Phils are still two games behind Atlanta for NL East bragging rights.

Roy Halladay has beaten the Dodgers all three times he has faced them and will try to get back on the winning path in Monday's series opener. Halladay, who sports a 1.50 earned run average over 24 innings against LA, had won six straight starts before losing to Houston last Wednesday in a 3-2 setback. He allowed all three runs and six hits in seven innings.

The right-hander fell to 16-9 in 27 starts and raised his ERA slightly from 2.16 to 2.22. Halladay is 6-4 in 11 road starts this season.

Los Angeles dropped the last two portions of a three-game set at Colorado following a four-game winning streak, but now has more on its mind with the reported loss of slugging outfielder Manny Ramirez.

Baseball sources have confirmed to that Ramirez, who's been on and off the disabled list this season, will become a member of the Chicago White Sox on Monday. He was placed on waivers by the Dodgers earlier in the week and the White Sox won the exclusive rights to Ramirez on Friday. The Dodgers have until Tuesday to work out a trade with Chicago, pull him off waivers and keep him with the club or let him go and get nothing back in return.

Ramirez was batting .311 with eight homers and 40 RBI in 66 games for Los Angeles this season.

The Dodgers pounded out 13 hits in Sunday's 10-5 loss to the Rockies, as Scott Podsednik and Matt Kemp both finished with three hits in defeat. Ryan Theriot drove in two runs and Ted Lilly suffered his first loss in a Dodger uniform, yielding seven runs and nine hits in just four innings.

"One of those days when I wasn't throwing the ball that well," Lilly said on LA's site after winning his first five starts with the club. "It would have been nice to find a way to give up two runs, or three or five. Not seven."

Los Angeles, which is 6 1/2 games behind the Phillies in the wild card standings, will send Hiroki Kuroda to the mound Monday. Kuroda was 0-3 in five starts before defeating Milwaukee the previous time out last Wednesday, when he was touched for four runs in seven innings of a 5-4 win.

Kuroda, a right-hander, pushed his 2010 mark to 9-11 in 25 starts to go along with a 3.56 ERA. He is 1-0 in three career starts against Philadelphia.

The Phillies won two of three meetings with Los Angeles at Citizens Bank Park earlier this month and, of course, beat the Dodgers in each of the past two National League Championship Series.