Randy Wolf looks to move into a tie for the league lead in wins and keep the Los Angeles Dodgers ahead in the competitive NL West when they play the middle game of their three-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Saturday night.
Wolf (8-5, 4.24 ERA) can join a group of three pitchers, including teammate Brad Penny, for the NL lead in wins. San Diego’s Jake Peavy and Wolf’s former Philadelphia teammate, Cole Hamels, have also won nine games.
Wolf, though, is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in his last three starts, and owns the worst ERA among baseball’s eight-game winners. The left-hander gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings as the Dodgers lost 10-4 to the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.
He was with Philadelphia when he made his only start against Tampa Bay, surrendering six runs and nine hits in seven innings in a 6-3 loss on June 14, 2001.
The Dodgers (42-31) have given up three runs or less in nine of their last 13 games, including a 6-3 win over Tampa Bay (31-40) on Friday night. The win moved Los Angeles one-half game ahead of San Diego and Arizona in the NL West.
Luis Gonzalez homered and had two RBIs to lead the Dodgers on Friday, and has driven in 16 runs in his last 14 games.
“We’re proud of the job he’s been doing for us all season long,” Los Angeles manager Grady Little said. “Recently he’s probably been our most effective hitter day in and day out.”
The left-handed hitting Gonzalez is batting .340 against southpaw pitchers this season. He will likely be in the lineup to face Devil Rays left-hander Scott Kazmir (5-3, 4.10 ERA) on Saturday.
Kazmir is 2-0 in his last three starts, but has a 4.76 ERA in that span. He gave up three runs and six hits in six innings to beat Colorado 7-4 on Sunday.
This will be his first appearance against the Dodgers.
The Devil Rays, losers of three straight and seven of nine, will not have the option of using Elijah Dukes on Saturday. The troubled outfielder was optioned to the minors and placed on the temporary inactive list before Friday’s game.
Dukes has been under scrutiny since his estranged wife revealed she sought a restraining order after being threatened by him last month.
“We just wish him well,” Tampa Bay first baseman Carlos Pena said. “We’re going to stay in touch with him. He’s going to get back on his feet. We’re going to do the best we can to be there for him.”