In an attempt to win today’s game at Oakland, the Orioles are counting on a 36-year-old left-hander who won just three of his 24 starts with the Brewers this year and who has pitched just 1/3 of an inning over the last nine days.
At least Randy Wolf is rested.
You can tell that the fact that Wolf is getting the ball for today’s game has some fans nervous, and we’ll see how he does. He did go 3-10 with an ERA of 5.69 for Milwaukee, and he went 0-4 with an ERA of 6.53 over his last four National League starts. He had an ERA of 5.44 there after the All-Star break.
Of course, after getting the win in just one of his last 20 starts with the Brewers, he has picked up a win in two of his first three O’s appearances. He has a 5.68 ERA in 6 1/3 innings with the club.
Wolf, who was a NL All-Star in 2003, is now with his sixth team.
In 366 career starts, Wolf is 129-117 with an ERA of 4.18 and 201 quality starts, which is the 13th-most among active pitchers. Wolf’s 49 wins from 2008-11 were the third-most by a lefty in the NL behind Ted Lilly (51) and Cole Hamels (50). His teams have gone 196-170 in his starts over the years, and I am sure Buck Showalter had some of that experience in mind when he decided to start Wolf today.
Plus, Oakland’s offense is a little less productive vs. left-handers, but Zach Britton showed last night that won’t matter if you struggle to command your pitches.
Wolf’s brother, Jim, is a major league umpire. Also, in 2009, the lefty bought the house previously owned by guitarist “Slash” of Guns ‘N Roses. So he’s got that going for him.
He’s also 1-1 with an ERA of 2.77 and two quality starts in his career against Oakland. If he can make that three today, that would be big for the Orioles.
The A’s starter is 23-year-old right-hander Dan Straily. He is 2-0 with a 3.42 ERA in four big league starts this year, and the A’s have won all four of those games.
Straily went 9-7 with a 2.78 ERA this season between Double-A and Triple-A and fanned 190 over 152 innings to lead all of minor league baseball in strikeouts.
Opponent batters have hit .250 in the big leagues off Straily, but that number goes down to .188 (6-for-32) with runners on base and .063 (1-for-16) when he pitches with runners in scoring position.
Neither starter survives the fifth: Both pitchers were taken out of this game before the fifth inning was over. Wolf went four innings, allowing six hits and two runs. He gave up a Josh Reddick two-run homer in the first and threw 72 pitches today. Even though Wolf had shut out the A’s from the second through the fourth, Tommy Hunter came on to start the last of the fifth.
Straily pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and four runs with five walks and one strikeout and throwing 92 pitches.
The Orioles took a 4-2 lead to the sixth today.
Matt Wieters has hit two solo homers today. It’s his third two-homer game of the year. He also did it on April 16 at Chicago and Aug. 7 vs. Seattle. It’s his fourth career two-homer game.