The Dodgers and Pirates resume their three-game series tonight, and the scales are once again heavily tipped in favor of the home team. The Pirates have not won a series on the road since May 18-21, when they took three of four games in Washington. They have lost an amazing 41 of their past 52 road games, including 14 of their past 15. On the season, the Pirates are 19-53 away from home. The Pirates are threatening to have the worst road record in a season in the last two decades. Both the 2003 Tigers (who lost 119 games) and the 2006 Devil Rays (who lost 101 games) went 20-61 on the road. Of course, both of those teams made the World Series three years later, so Pittsburgh fans might have something to look forward to.
The Dodgers welcome back Randy Wolf tonight, who returns to the mound after missing one start due to a hyper-extended left elbow. Wolf has thrown six straight quality starts, and is 5-0 during that stretch. He also has a streak of 14 straight starts of pitching at least six innings, and has done so in 26 of 30 starts this season.
Zach Duke has really struggled of late, allowing 32 hits and 20 runs (18 earned) in just 13 innings over his last three starts. He has allowed five home runs in those three short starts. Among the 90 MLB pitchers with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title, Duke ranks 87th in strikeouts per nine innings, with 4.31. Duke's 89 strikeouts this season are 14 fewer than Jonathan Broxton. In six career starts against the Dodgers, Duke has never allowed fewer than four runs, and has a 7.53 ERA against them.
Obscure stat of the day: Casey Blake has 10 sacrifice flies this season, the most by any Dodger since Eric Karros had 12 in 2000. This is just the 11th time a Dodger has hit as many as 10 sacrifice flies in a season, headlined by Gil Hodges' club record 19 in 1954.
The Dodgers may have waited until game number 145 this year to play the Pirates, but they won't have to wait long to face them in 2010. Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tells us the Dodgers will be in Pittsburgh to open 2010.
Be sure to check out Xeifrank's simulation of today's game here.
Get your guesses in for our today's "One, Two, Three Strikes, You're Out," here.
Game Time: 7:10pm