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WSH@LAD: Billingsley pitches seven great innings

Two starts ago, Paul Maholm snapped out of a nasty slide, in which he'd posted a 7.10 ERA over nine outings dating back to last July. In his last start, Maholm started a new streak, one he will look to continue on Friday as the Cubs welcome the Dodgers to Wrigley Field.

After giving up six runs in each of his first two starts this season, racking up a 13.50 ERA in the process, Maholm has allowed only one run the last two times he's taken the mound. He pitched at least six innings in both starts, both wins, allowing a combined nine hits and three walks while striking out six.

"You just have to make your pitches and do what you can and have a chance to get some things going," Maholm said after his last start, a win over Roy Halladay and the Phillies. "I think I had one punchout, so that's a lot of ground balls, and the defense played great."

Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley will be looking to continue his rebound, as well. Billingsley jumped out to a 2-0 record with a 1.33 ERA after three starts, then gave up nine runs (five earned) on four hits and four walks in only 3 1/3 innings against Houston on April 22.

Billingsley's last start went considerably better, as he held the Nationals to one run on five hits and two walks while striking out six over seven innings.

He didn't pick up the win, but he did match Washington's Stephen Strasburg in fellow phenom Bryce Harper's Major League debut -- a moment the Dodgers spoiled with a walk-off win in the 10th inning.

"It was an exciting game from the first pitch to the last," Billingsley said Saturday.

Dodgers: Uribe possibly heading to DL
Third baseman Juan Uribe received a cortisone shot in his left wrist Tuesday night. If his condition hasn't improved by Friday, he will likely be placed on the disabled list.

"Juan seems a little worse to me than the last time," manager Don Mattingly said of Uribe, who aggravated an injury he originally sustained last month sliding into home plate. "He's a little more concerned. He got an injection last night and we hope it helps him. We should know a lot by [Thursday].

"You don't want to go long [without him]. If he could pinch-hit, at least it's like having a guy. It is hard in this league without a guy. You feel like you're going to run out of guys every day. You don't want to play short or your hands are tied."

Cubs: Sveum trying to prepare for Kemp
Manager Dale Sveum, like anyone else, doesn't have the answer to slowing down Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp -- but he did offer a few ideas Thursday.

"Make sure you don't throw any lefties [against him]," Sveum said of Kemp, who is hitting .533 off left-handers. "The guy, for a month now, has been about as good as you can be for a right-handed hitter, especially the power numbers he's putting up in that ballpark. They're phenomenal. You do your best to keep the ball in the ballpark."

Unfortunately for Sveum, the way his rotation sets up forces him to violate his own rule by sending the left-handed Maholm to the mound in the series opener. Kemp is 4-for-12 in his career against Maholm.

For at least one Cubs player, Kemp's Player of the Month honors in April and monster numbers to this point (.411 average with 12 home runs and 25 RBIs) aren't much of a surprise.

"He deserves the recognition he's gotten," said Blake DeWitt, who played on the Dodgers with Kemp from 2008-10. "As a player, it's fun to watch and see what he's doing that night. We all know how hard this game is, and when you're putting up numbers like that and making plays like that, it's fun. It's impressive."

Worth noting
• Triple-A Iowa first baseman Anthony Rizzo and right-handed pitcher Frank Batista were named the Cubs' Minor League player and pitcher of the month for April.

• Billingsley is one of only three NL pitchers to have won 10 or more games in each of the past five seasons, joining teammate Ted Lilly and Philadelphia's Cole Hamels.

• Since 2005, the Cubs lead the head-to-head series by just one game, posting a 24-23 record against the Dodgers during that span.

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