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The bottom half

Dodgers: The last time the Dodgers played the Florida Marlins, the Dodgers swept three games, outscoring the Marlins, 25-10, in the series April 29-May 1. Both are now in second place and have arrived there in decidedly different ways: Entering the weekend, the Marlins led the majors with 122 home runs; the Dodgers ranked third to last with 57. The Dodgers’ team earned-run average was 3.68 -- almost a run better than Florida’s 4.53. Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla has 23 homers -- two more than the Dodgers’ starting infield of James Loney, Jeff Kent, Angel Berroa and Blake DeWitt combined.

Dodgers vs. Marlins, Friday through next Sunday at Dodger Stadium.

Angels: The Angels got some breathing room by winning two of three from the A’s last week and they would like to get some more against the second-place A’s. The Angels will be coming from a four-game trip to Texas and will not have John Lackey pitching during the Oakland series, but American League wins leader Joe Saunders is scheduled to pitch the series finale. Right-hander Rich Harden (5-0) held the Angels in check Tuesday, but the Angels rallied for a 5-3 victory. The Angels are 6-3 against the A’s this season.

The week ahead

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Angels vs. Oakland Athletics, Friday through next Sunday at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland.

* With Brett Myers struggling enough to get sent to the minors, the Philadelphia Phillies are in search of a starting pitcher and could be looking to land a big trade before the July 31 deadline. Some of the names being considered are C.C. Sabathia of the Cleveland Indians and A.J. Burnett of the Toronto Blue Jays. They could use another arm this weekend when the Arizona Diamondbacks come to town for a matchup of division leaders. The Diamondbacks, with a team batting average of .249, could use another bat to help hold off the Dodgers in the NL West.

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies, Friday through next Sunday at Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia.

Minor leaguers of the week

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Angels: Kevin Jepsen, p

Jepsen, a converted starter, has thrived in a bullpen role this season -- so much so that he was selected for the Futures game to be played during All-Star weekend. He was promoted to triple-A Salt Lake in early June after opening the season at double-A Arkansas. For the season, the hard-throwing right-hander is 2-3 with 13 saves and a 1.76 ERA. He has 50 strikeouts in 46 innings and has held opponents to a .195 batting average. The only concern is control: He has walked 26 batters, including eight in 14 1/3 innings since his promotion to triple A. A second-round draft pick in 2002, Jepsen was leading the Texas League with 11 saves at the time of his promotion.

Dodgers: Jason Johnson, p

Johnson was a journeyman pitcher in the majors, going 55-98 over 10 seasons with seven teams from 1997 to 2006. He spent last season in Japan but is now with triple-A Las Vegas and has not forgotten how to pitch. He leads the Pacific Coast League with 10 wins and is 6-3 with a 3.61 ERA over his last 10 games -- respectable numbers in the hitter-happy PCL. His best seasons came with the Baltimore Orioles in 1999-2003, when he won 34 games. He has never been a power pitcher but has 87 strikeouts in 102 1/3 innings for the 51s. If the Dodgers suffer any more injuries to pitchers, they could call up the veteran.

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-- Peter Yoon


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