Plenty of eyes are on the Dodgers and Phillies this weekend at Citizens Bank Park, but for very different reasons.
While the Dodgers are winning at a torrid pace -- 41-8 since June 22 -- the Phillies are making changes, replacing Charlie Manuel as manager with Ryne Sandberg on Friday.
"There have been signs of lackadaisical play," Sandberg said. "And getting the players re-interested in these games -- remind them that they are meaningful games -- I think will be part of the order."
Phillies fans will see if Sandberg can help the team do just that when the Dodgers and Phillies square off on Saturday. The Phillies took a 4-0 loss in Friday's series opener.
Kyle Kendrick will be on the hill for Philadelphia, looking to bounce back after a rough stretch of starts. He's 2-3 with an 8.63 ERA in his last five starts, and 4-5 with a 6.24 ERA in his last 11 outings, dating back to June 14.
In his previous start against the Nationals, Kendrick (10-9, 4.48 ERA) allowed six runs (four earned) on 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings for the loss.
Meanwhile, Clayton Kershaw (11-7) gets the call for the Dodgers. He's been magnificent this season, leading the Majors in ERA (1.88), opponents' batting average (.185) and WHIP (0.87).
The left-hander has been especially fantastic over his last five starts, tossing six or more innings in each while holding opponents to two runs or fewer. In his previous outing against the Rays, Kershaw allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits in eight innings of an 8-2 win.
"He's been carrying us all year," Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis said after his last start. "We haven't scored enough runs for him, and he hasn't complained one time. He's as complete a pitcher you could have. You feel good when he's at the plate, too -- it's crazy. He's like the perfect ballplayer."
Kershaw hasn't put up those kind of numbers against the Phillies. In eight career starts against Philadelphia, he's 0-4 with a 4.31 ERA. At Citizens Bank Park, he is 0-2 with a 5.96 ERA.
Dodgers: Ethier gets breather
Outfielder Andre Ethier was on the bench for the Dodgers' series opener against the Phillies on Friday. However, it wasn't because of his sore calf.
"It's two-fold," manager Don Mattingly said. "Obviously, he's ready to play. He wanted to play. If there had been a different matchup, but he's not good against Cliff Lee. It had nothing to do with his health. The computer kicked him out."
Ethier is 0-for-8 with four strikeouts against Lee lifetime. So Mattingly started right-handed hitter Scott Van Slyke in right field. Van Slyke was recalled for the fourth time this year earlier in the day.
"Like I told him, if he was healthy, I would look at this as two days off [following a travel day]," said Mattingly. "This is how I make up the lineups. I look for a combination of days."
Phillies: Manuel contemplating next step
After being dismissed by the Phillies as manager on Friday, Manuel is trying to figure out what's next.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he has asked Manuel to remain with the organization, although it is unknown in what capacity.
"I think what I need to do is have some time off and sit down and think," Manuel said. "I think I can manage for a couple more years -- maybe two, three years. I'm not saying that's what I'm going to do. I want to think about it. And of course, somebody has to be interested in you.
"But at the same time, I definitely respect the Phillies and the position they left for me. They left the door open. It shows how much they care about me, how much they want me and everything. Believe me, I will take the most consideration possible for that."
• The Dodgers have gone 12-0-4 in their last 16 series, last losing a series June 14-16 at Pittsburgh.
• In 11 career games (eight starts) against the Dodgers, Kendrick is 5-5 with a 7.36 ERA.