Wait, didn't we just get to LA?
The Brewers and Dodgers wrap up the series tonight with Hiroki Kuroda (3.21 ERA, 3.81 FIP) on the mound. The stat lines would suggest that Kuroda has a lot in common with Shaun Marcum: His strikeout numbers (roughly seven K's per nine innings) are fine but his control (2.19 BB/9) is a stronger asset. He pitched seven shutout innings against the Pirates on Wednesday in his last appearance.
Kuroda throws a low 90's fastball and past results would suggest he should throw it more: FanGraphs estimates its value at +0.79 runs per 100 pitches, which is very good for a non-breaking pitch. He'll also throw a lot of sliders, splitters and the occasional curve. The slider has been worth +0.91 runs per 100 over his career.
Kuroda faced the Brewers one time in 2010 and was a winner, allowing four runs on seven hits over seven innings on August 25. He walked none and struck out six in the game. No Brewers have faced him ten times or more, but Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder are a combined 6-for-13 against him with a walk and a double.
He'll face former Dodger Randy Wolf, who is looking to get back on track. Wolf has had some poor outings this season but his start against the Padres on Wednesday was easily the worst: He allowed five runs on 12 hits and two walks while lasting just 3.1 innings, striking out just one in the game.
The frustrating part of Wolf's game is that he's been either solid or disastrous in every start this season. Here are his 2011 outings, sorted by game score:
Wolf was a Dodger for two seasons, in 2007 and again in 2009. The 2009 season was one of the best of his career. He also faced them once last season and struggled, allowing four runs on seven hits over five innings with three walks and four strikeouts. Two Dodgers have faced him ten times or more:
Via Tom Haudricourt, here's tonight's lineup:
Rickie Weeks 2B
Corey Hart RF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Carlos Gomez CF
Randy Wolf P
And in the bullpen:
Kameron Loe pitched one inning (9 pitches) last night, and has appeared in three straight games.
John Axford pitched one inning (14 pitches) last night, and also pitched on Sunday.
Marco Estrada pitched two innings (26 pitches) Sunday.
Mike McClendon and LaTroy Hawkins haven't pitched since Saturday.
Sergio Mitre hasn't pitched since Wednesday.
Tim Dillard is still around here somewhere.
If tonight's game runs long, weather could become a factor. The Weather Channel is predicting a game time temp of 58 under partly cloudy skies, but says there's a 50% chance of rain starting around 10 pm local time.