Yesterday's game saw two of the best starting pitchers in the MLB go toe-to-toe in a phenomenal pitcher's duel. Today will probably be not that.
Dylan Axelrod (0-1, 3.52) was a thirtieth round pick in the 2007 amateur draft, selected by the San Diego Padres. After two minor league seasons in San Diego's system (including a 4.70 ERA between Low-A and High-A in his second year), Axelrod was released by the organization in May of 2009. He pitched in the independent leagues for a few months before being signed by the White Sox late in the season. He finished strong, with a 1.91 ERA in five starts at Chicago's High-A club. Since then, he has found good success in the minors, with a 2.06 ERA in 2010, a 2.69 ERA in 2011, and a 3.11 ERA in 2012.
Axelrod has had some playing time in the majors already, making four appearances and three starts for the White Sox last season and three appearances and one start this year. If you looked at just his ERA, you would think he has been very successful with a 3.08 ERA overall. However, his 4.70 FIP and 1.481 WHIP suggest that he may not find continued success. He never had a very high WHIP in the minors thanks in part to a low walk rate. His walk rate has increased slightly in the majors, though the bigger problem is how many hits he has given up.
Fortunately for Axelrod, his 3.52 HR/9 is comprised solely of solo home runs. Despite allowing plenty of runners on base, he has a 100% left-on-base percentage. That, of course, will not keep up. Axelrod has not pitched in the majors since May 6 when he gave up two earned runs on two home runs in 4.1 innings against the Tigers.
Axelrod throws three pitches primarily: An 81 MPH slider (41%), an 89 MPH four seamer (29%), and an 89 MPH two seamer (11%). He has not yet faced any Brewers hitters.
Randy Wolf (2-5, 5.11) has not been under a 5.00 ERA yet this season. Things had been going better recently: He pitched 6.2 shutout, four-hit innings against the Cubs on June 7, then allowed just one earned run in seven innings against the Royals on the 13th. Then he went back to the bad Wolf, giving up four earned runs in 6.1 innings to the Blue Jays.
Wolf currently sits at a 4.45 FIP, but has the worst strikeout rate of his career. He has just five quality starts this season, and is sporting the fourth-highest WHIP of his career. This has not been a good season for Wolf. If the Brewers still have any hopes of competing, they need him to pitch closer to his performances against the Cubs and Royals.
Wolf has faced two current White Sox hitters at least ten times. In 38 plate appearances, Adam Dunn has hit .229/.289/.371 while Orlando Hudson has hit .429/.467/.429 in 15 PA.
In the Bullpen:
John Axford pitched 1 inning (11 pitches) last night.
Tim Dillard pitched 1.1 innings (22 pitches) on Wednesday and also pitched on Tuesday.
Michael Fiers pitched one inning (17 pitches) on Wednesday and is expected to start on Sunday.
Francisco Rodriguez and Manny Parra last pitched on Tuesday.
Kameron Loe last pitched on Monday.
Jose Veras last pitched on Sunday.
Livan Hernandez last pitched for the Braves on June 10.
Mike McClendon is there, too!