Tonight's game at Minute Maid Park between the Dodgers and the Astros is a race to seven. Hiroki Kuroda seeks to pitch seven innings or more for the seventh straight start, and the Dodgers hopt to avoid a season-high seven-game losing streak. The Dodgers have lost six straight game four different times this season, and they have all happened within the last three months.
Last season, the Dodgers at this point only had two losing streaks of three games or longer (one was a four-game skid). This season, they have had seven losing streaks of three games or more.
Kuroda is having a very good season. He has career highs this year in ERA, FIP, xFIP, wins, and strikeouts, and in a couple of starts will set a new mark for innings pitched as well. His strikeout rate has increased each season, from 14.95% of batters faced in 2008 to 19.69% this year. His walks have also increased, but upon further review Kuroda has held steady in that regard.
Kuroda is second in baseball with 11 intentional walks issued this year. Amazingly, last night's closer, Brandon Lyon, has the most, with 12. Remove intentional walks, and Kuroda has been pretty consistent every year in walking batters.
|Hiroki Kuroda & Unintentional Walks|
All J.A. Happ has done since joining the Astros is go 5-2 with a 3.21 ERA in eight starts. He had one disaster start in St. Louis, giving up seven runs while only recording three outs, but otherwise has been solid, with seven quality starts. Happ has made five starts at Minute Maid Park this year, including once while with Philadelphia, and has given up a total of three runs in 32 1/3 innings.
So far this week, the Albuquerque contingent is hitless in 10 at-bats (Russ Mitchell 0-for-5, Trent Oeltjen 0-for-4, and John Lindsey 0-for-1).
Last night's game by Andre Ethier was the 43rd time since 1920 that a Dodger hit a home run and had three walks in the same game.
If you need your fix of early 1990s clothing and knuckleballers, check out this video of Tom Candiotti in 1992 on a prank video show called Payback (courtesy of Kris Liakos of Walkoff Walk):
Get your guesses in for Xeifrank's game simulation here.
Game Time: 5:05 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket