PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 26: Norichika Aoki #7 of the Milwaukee Brewers runs to third base against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 26, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
After being out since April 18, Daniel Hudson (1-1, 6.00) finally is making his return to the Diamondbacks rotation. Unfortunately, he's returning to face the Brewers. After a slow start to the season, it seemed as though Hudson was just heating up before succumbing to a right shoulder injury.
His first start was a mediocre one. He allowed four runs, but pitched 6.2 innings. He only struck out four batters, but only walked two. He also surrendered two home runs. His second start was awful. Hudson made it just 3.2 innings and gave up six earned runs on ten hits. Once again, he also gave up two home runs. Finally, on his third start of the year, Hudson had a great outing. He went 7.2 innings and allowed just two runs on six hits. Then he hit the DL and the Diamondbacks have gone 12-16 since.
For the first time in his career, Hudson has been having a lot of trouble with the long ball. He gave two home runs in each of his first two starts, then a fifth home run in his one good start. On the year, he has a 2.50 HR/9. Through his career in both the majors and minors, Hudson has been excellent at keeping the ball in the park. He had a 1.25 HR/9 in Triple-A in 2010, but had just a 0.76 HR/9 in the same number of innings in the majors that same year. He never approached a 1.00 HR/9 during any other year.
Hudson can strike people out, but he tends to rely more on his control and inducing groundballs. He has a 7.09 K/9 on his career, with a 2.39 BB/9. Hudson throws three pitches: A 93 MPH four seamer (62% of his selection), an 84 MPH changeup (22%) and an 87 MPH slider (16%). Hudson has not yet faced a Brewers batter at least ten times.
For the Brewers, Randy Wolf (2-4, 6.04) will take the mound. Wolf has not been very good this season. So far, he has an 8 run start and a six run start under his belt, with a couple four run starts for good measure. He is sporting a 4.54 FIP with his 6.04 ERA, is striking out hitters at the lowest rate in his career, and is walking his highest rate of hitters since 2006.
At this point, you really have to hold your breath everytime the Brewers send Wolf to the mound. More often than not, he'll have a reasonably solid start. Every now and then, he'll throw in a great start, like he did against the Cubs on May 11 (4 hits, 0 ER, 6 IP). However, more often than the great starts this year, he'll also have a stinker. That includes eight runs in 4.1 innings April 13 against the Braves and six earned runs in 4.0 innings on May 16 against the Astros.
Randy Wolf is slowing down. He's 35. It's to be expected. Hopefully he can find enough juice to make it through the rest of this year, at least. A bad Randy Wolf from here on out is going to shoot the Brewers playoff chances even lower than they might currently be. Especially since the Brewers can be slow to cut the aging, bad veteran.
Wolf has faced seven current Diamondbacks at least ten times. Here is how they have fared (hint: well):
And in the bullpen:
pitched two innings (41 pitches) Wednesday.
pitched one inning (11 pitches) Wednesday.
pitched two innings (44 pitches) Wednesday and is expected to start Tuesday.