Brown will try and lead the Dodgers to a win in the deciding game of their interleague series with the visiting Kansas City Royals.
With Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat, the Dodgers have lost six of nine. Two of those victories, however, came with Brown on the mound.
The 38-year-old right-hander, once one of the dominant pitchers of the 1990s, has won six straight decisions, including Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Milwaukee.
“He was dominant tonight again. Wow!” Dodgers catcher Paul Lo Duca said. “There’s no question to me—right now, he’s the best pitcher in the National League.”
With every outing, Brown puts the misery of the last two years behind him. Because of injuries to his back and pitching elbow, he made a total of 29 starts and won only a combined 13 games.
“I can’t say that coming into the season, I expected to be at this point at this time,” he said.
Brown has been outstanding since losing to San Francisco on April 18th, allowing eight earned runs in eight starts spanning 58 innings (1.24 ERA). He has allowed 37 hits while walking nine and striking out 54.
“That’s what an ace does,” closer Eric Gagne said. “He’s been doing it for us all year. He’s amazing. His stuff is electric. We needed that.”
Kansas City got a stellar start of its own from rookie Kyle Snyder on Wednesday. The right-hander allowed just three hits over six innings in earning the win.
The victory was just the fifth in 20 games for the Royals, who evened their record at 28-28 one day after dropping below .500 for the first time this season.
STANDINGS: Royals - 2nd place, 4 GB, AL Central. Dodgers - 2nd place, 3 1/2 GB, NL West.
ROYALS PROBABLE STARTER: Darrell May (0-1, 4.13 ERA). Winless in nine starts, May hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last five outings. The left-hander gave up four runs—three earned—in Saturday’s 7-6 loss to Oakland. He has never faced the Dodgers in his career.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Brown (7-1, 2.02 ERA). The right-hander is 6-7 with a 4.20 ERA in his career against Kansas City.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Royals - Mike Sweeney, .308 avg. and 31 RBIs; Carlos Beltran, 10 HRs and 11 SBs; Raul Ibanez, 33 runs. Dodgers - Lo Duca, .333 avg.; Fred McGriff, 9 HRs and 31 RBIs; Shawn Green, 29 runs; Dave Roberts, 18 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Royals - 1-1; Dodgers - 1-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Royals - 1B Sweeney has a .321 average in interleague games with 11 homers and 55 RBIs. … It appears RHP Runelvys Hernandez is closer to returning from the DL than RHP Miguel Asencio. “I’m ready,” said Hernandez, who pitched in a minor league game last Sunday. “I need to throw long-toss and a bullpen. I hope it’s soon.” Asencio said he hopes to start playing catch shortly. “I don’t know how long it’s going to be,” he said. “All I can do is wait.” Both have inflammation in their pitching elbows. … OF Michael Tucker is 5-for-8 in his career against RHP Brown. Dodgers - Placed RHP Darren Dreifort on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 29 because of a sprained ligament in his right knee and recalled LHP Victor Alvarez from Triple-A Las Vegas. … RHP Brown has held Royals C Brent Mayne to two hits in 22 at-bats. … RHP Andy Ashby will start Saturday night against the Chicago White Sox. It will be the second start of the season for Ashby, who made 30 starts last season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Royals - 14-16 on the road; Dodgers - 18-12 at home.
INJURIES: Royals - INF Carlos Febles (finger), 15-day DL; OF Dee Brown (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Asencio (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Hernandez (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Albie Lopez (groin), 15-day DL. Dodgers - C Todd Hundley (sciatic nerve), 15-day DL; OF Daryle Ward (wrist), 15-day DL; LHP Troy Brohawn (rotator cuff), 15-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Dreifort (knee), 15-day DL.