Wolf looks to end his worst stretch of the season as the Phillies take on the Milwaukee Brewers in the decisive game of their series at Veterans Stadium.
The 26-year-old left-hander has been one of the Phillies’ best pitchers this season, teaming with Millwood to give Philadelphia a strong 1-2 punch.
However, both have fallen on hard times of late.
Millwood had just one win in his previous six decisions before Wednesday’s 11-4 victory over the Brewers in the middle game of the set. The right-hander allowed three runs and six hits over seven solid innings.
Looking to stay in the hunt for a postseason berth, the Phillies now need Wolf to end his struggles.
Wolf is 0-2 with a 6.88 ERA in his last three starts after going 6-2 with a 2.80 ERA over his previous 10 outings. He capped that run by tossing a four-hitter in a 3-0 win over the Chicago Cubs on July 23.
He has been hit hard since, including Friday’s 9-1 loss to San Francisco. Wolf surrendered four runs and six hits over five innings, striking out five and walking two.
But Wolf, who has been struggling with the location of his pitches, believes he is regaining his control.
“I was throwing strikes,” he said of his performance against the Giants. “It wasn’t a matter of me being wild.
“Location and throwing well go hand in hand. The last time out (a 6-4 loss to San Diego on Aug. 2), I didn’t have a good feel for my curve. It makes it really frustrating out there because you don’t want to be living on one pitch. This is a stretch here where my change-up hasn’t been very effective.”
Philadelphia had lost five of six before Wednesday’s victory. Jim Thome homered twice, Bobby Abreu had three hits, three RBIs and three runs scored, and Placido Polanco had two hits and scored three runs for the Phillies.
Philadelphia remained a half-game behind the NL wild card-leading Florida Marlins, who beat Los Angeles 2-1 in 11 innings.
Keith Ginter hit a three-run homer for Milwaukee, which has lost nine of 13.
Ginter is riding an eight-game hitting streak, during which he is batting .357 (10-for-28) with two homers and seven RBIs.
STANDINGS: Brewers - 6th place, 16 1/2 GB, NL Central. Phillies - 3rd place, 12 GB, NL East.
BREWERS PROBABLE STARTER: Wes Obermueller (0-3, 6.06 ERA). Obermueller, who made two starts for the Kansas City Royals last season, was promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis on July 24 and is still looking for his first career victory. The 26-year-old right-hander was reached for seven runs and seven hits over 4 1-3 innings of Thursday’s 7-1 loss to Atlanta, walking four without notching a strikeout. He makes his first career start against Philadelphia.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Wolf (11-7, 3.50 ERA). Wolf is 2-1 with a 2.75 ERA in six career starts against Milwaukee.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Brewers - Mike Lieberthal, .316 avg.; Thome, 30 HRs, 88 RBIs and 77 runs; Jimmy Rollins, 16 SBs. Brewers - Scott Podsednik, .294 avg.; Richie Sexson, 32 HRs and 87 RBIs; Geoff Jenkins and Sexson, 71 runs; Eric Young and Podsednik, 23 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Brewers - 2B Eric Young also has an eight-game hitting streak, batting .321 (9-for-28) during the run. … C Keith Osik is hitting .333 (10-for-30) during a nine-game streak. … The Brewers haven’t won three straight since June 25-27. Phillies - OF Abreu is hitting .370 (34-for-92) with 27 RBIs over his last 26 games. … The Phillies are 27-9 when scoring in the first inning and 44-8 when scoring first. … 3B David Bell, on the disabled list with a back injury since July 11, had an MRI on his left hip that turned out normal. He’ll continue treatment for his injury.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Brewers - 26-33 on the road; Phillies - 35-26 at home.
INJURIES: Brewers - INF Wes Helms (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Jayson Durocher (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Matt Ford (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Nick Neugebauer (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Ruben Quevedo (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Glendon Rusch (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Todd Ritchie (shoulder), 60-day DL. Phillies - 3B Bell (back), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 15-day DL.