Kuroda will try to help the Dodgers complete a three-game sweep of the Astros as the teams meet Sunday at Chavez Ravine for the last time in 2011.
Los Angeles improved to 4-4 against Houston with Saturday’s 6-1 victory. The six runs matched the Dodgers’ output in the previous five matchups.
Kuroda (7-14, 3.01 ERA) would like to see Los Angeles come close to equaling that. The right-hander receives the fifth-fewest runs per game in the majors at 3.08.
Kuroda is 2-11 over his last 14 outings despite a 3.16 ERA, as the Dodgers have backed him with a total of 20 runs - including six in five starts since the All-Star break. He surrendered four runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings Monday but was given one run to work with in a 5-3 loss to Philadelphia.
“You got a guy like Hiro, who basically kept us in the game,” manager Don Mattingly told the Dodgers’ official website. “We got some big hits, really, but we just weren’t able to scratch enough across.”
Kuroda is 2-0 with a 1.91 ERA in six career starts versus Houston, getting an average of 3.82 runs.
“Anytime he hits homers, we feel pretty confident in ourselves,” Kershaw said. “It’s almost unfair, because we almost expect it out of him. His talent’s really taken over for us.”
Kemp, who has homered only five times since the break, is batting .386 in 14 home games in the second half compared to .277 in 12 road games.
Kemp and the rest of the Dodgers will get their first look at Astros rookie Jordan Lyles(notes) (1-6, 4.88). The 20-year-old right-hander is 0-3 with a 5.71 ERA on the road following Tuesday’s 11-9 loss at Arizona. Lyles set career highs with seven runs and 12 hits allowed in five innings but did not get a decision.
Houston (38-82) will try to avoid its sixth straight loss and 18th in 23 games.
“It’s been hard. But one thing you can say about this group is that we show up every day trying to win, and we play hard,” shortstop Clint Barmes(notes) said. “You try to learn from your mistakes and try not to repeat them. And there’s been a lot to learn from, obviously.”