Kuroda looks to build on his strong showing Thursday when the Dodgers conclude their three-game series against the Diamondbacks and Haren, who tries to bounce back.
Both teams will need strong outings from their starters in the finale after each club used eight pitchers and 433 pitches were thrown in Arizona’s 9-7, 11-inning win Wednesday.
Pitching deep into the game shouldn’t be a problem for Kuroda (1-0, 0.00 ERA) after his stellar first start for the Dodgers (3-5).
After recording a 1.96 ERA over 18 1-3 innings in five spring training appearances, Kuroda allowed an unearned run and five hits in eight innings of a 7-3 win over Florida on Friday. He struck out seven and the only walk he issued was intentional.
“He looked terrific,” manager Joe Torre said. “It’s just what we saw in the spring - very confident, in control, economical. His command was outstanding.”
It was an encouraging performance for the right-hander after a taxing 2009.
Kuroda won as Los Angeles’ opening-day starter a year ago, but things quickly took a turn for the worst. He strained his left oblique in a bullpen session after that first start and spent nearly two months on the disabled list. He made another trip to the DL in August with a concussion when a comebacker hit him on the front right side of his head.
While Kuroda, who went 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in two starts against the Diamondbacks (5-3) in 2009, appeared to be in complete control in his season debut, Haren (1-1, 3.95) couldn’t get in rhythm against Pittsburgh on Saturday.
After allowing one run and three hits in seven innings of a 6-3 win over San Diego on opening day, Haren was knocked around for six runs and nine hits - including two homers - in 6 2-3 innings of a 6-3 loss to the Pirates.
“I left a lot of balls over the middle of the plate, too many pitches up in the zone. That’s not a recipe for success,” said Haren, who has allowed at least five runs in four of five starts dating back to last season.
The right-hander hopes to bounce back against a Los Angeles team he went 1-1 with a 2.22 ERA in four starts against last season.
The 11-time All-Star is batting .577 (15 for 26) with three homers and four doubles lifetime against Haren - Ramirez’s highest average against any pitcher he has had at least 14 at-bats against. The slugger was 6 for 8 with a home run and a double versus Haren last season.
Arizona’s Chris Young drove in the game-winning run Wednesday with an RBI single with the bases loaded in the 11th inning. Young, who already has 14 RBIs, is 4 for 8 with three RBIs in the first two games of this series after batting .129 with three RBIs in his previous 28 career games at Dodger Stadium.