Hiroki Kuroda takes the hill at Dodger Stadium tonight for what may be his last home start in a Los Angeles uniform. Manager Don Mattingly praised the Japanese right-hander for his "quiet leadership and work ethic". In four seasons in major league baseball, Kuroda has posted these numbers: 3.49 ERA, 112 ERA+, 3.55 FIP, 3.63 xFIP, 1.195 WHIP, in 686 innings over 113 appearances, all but one starts. Opposing batters triple-slash line: .250 / .296 / .379 / .675.
Other than missing about ten starts in 2009, Kuroda's tenure with Dodgers has probably worked at as well or better than the front office hoped when they first signed him to a three-year, $35.3 million contract.
Tommy Lasorda will be an honorary coach, in uniform, in the dugout tonight. He claimed that he would actually manager the game tonight. No truth to the rumor that he plans on letting Kuroda throw 130 pitches and have Javy Guerra go for a 2 1/3 inning save.
- Mattingly plans on sticking with his rotation for the rest of the season. He also praised his young bullpen before the game, saying Guerra and Kenley Jansen had been "tremendous" and that Scott Elbert was "getting over the hump with his confidence."
- Especially for Phil: The Dodgers manager was also in favor of a change to the September roster rules, begin in favor of a more limited expansion, perhaps to 30 players maximum. He cited a game against Pittsburgh a couple years ago, where the Dodgers were in the playoff race, but that they "couldn't prepare for seventeen pitchers" on the Pirates roster.
- Matt Kemp is currently in the NL top three in home runs, batting average, RBIs and steals. If he finishes the season in the top three in all four categories, he would join the following players as the only others to do so: Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, George Sisler, Chuck Klein, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. Nice company.
- In The Thick Of It: Kuroda has set career highs in both wins AND losses this year, and has had only two no-decisions.
- When asked if "Manny had anything left in the tank", Mattingly cracked, "Manny Mota?"
Game Time: 7:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket