OK, so I for one am itching to see Kuroda and Duke face off tonight for a few reasons:
1. Their stats are nearly identical – Both have pitched about 12 innings, both have a 2.13 ERA, both have given up three earned runs so far this season. Kuroda’s 1-1 record is partly based on some unearned runs, so I’ll let that difference slide for now.
2. Current Dodger players have struggled against Duke in the past - Jeff Kent is 1-11, Rafael Furcal is 2-10, Andruw Jones is 1-8, and poor Juan Pierre is 3-17 (glad to see he is nowhere in tonight’s lineup).
3. The Matt Kemp factor - OK, so he’s FINALLY in the lineup and not being brought up off the bench…very pleasing (especially given Pierre’s stats against Duke). Batting third should give him a chance to stretch his legs a bit here – but his historical performance against Duke has been spotty as well (although not nearly as bad as those already mentioned)
4. Kuroda isn’t facing the D-backs this time – The “all of nothing” approach to batting that the D-backs are using definitely hurt the Dodgers (and Kuroda). Pittsburgh, however, has only registered two games where they scored over four runs (the Florida game was the only impressive victory) and aren’t putting up impressive numbers from the batters box consistently. Kuroda has a decent shot to preserve any early lead that the Dodgers can muster here (remember Russel Martin and Kuroda vs. the Padres). Did I mention that Martin is hitting better against Duke than just about any Dodger player?