(Sports Network) - With rumors swirling that slugger Manny Ramirez will be put on waivers sometime this week, the Los Angeles Dodgers will try to remain focused on making a run at the playoffs in tonight's continuation of a three- game series against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
"I don't think it's anything different than [what] goes on in July with all the rumors that fly around in July about trade possibilities," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said on the club's official site. "I don't see any concern."
Ramirez went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in last night's 5-3 victory over the Brewers in the series opener. Rod Barajas picked up the slack by going 3-for-4 with a three-run homer and two doubles for the Dodgers, who have alternated wins and losses over the last eight games and pulled within 6 1/2 games of the NL Wild Card lead.
Ted Lilly improved to 5-0 in five starts with Los Angeles and held Milwaukee to three runs over 6 1/3 innings. Ronald Belisario tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings before Hong-Chih Kuo closed the door in the ninth for his fifth save.
Los Angeles starter Hiroki Kuroda hasn't won since July 22 and will take the mound this evening. Kuroda is 0-3 with a 3.48 earned run average over his last five starts, with the Dodgers going 1-4 in that stretch.
Kuroda hasn't allowed more than two runs in each of his three most recent starts and did not record a decision in the Dodgers' 3-2 loss versus Colorado last Wednesday. He tossed seven innings of two-run ball that day and remained at 8-11 in 24 starts while lowering his ERA to 3.48.
The right-hander is 1-0 with a less desirable 7.36 ERA in two career appearances (one start) against Milwaukee.
The Brewers have dropped two in a row since a four-game winning streak, but still have life at 11 games off the final playoff spot in the National League. Dave Bush started for them last night and was saddled with the loss for giving up five runs and 10 hits over six innings.
"Bush would like to have a couple of pitches back," said Milwaukee manager Ken Macha. "A couple of two-strike breaking balls got too much over the plate and accounted for all their runs. Besides that he pitched good."
Former Dodger Randy Wolf shoots for his fourth straight win when he takes the ball tonight for the Brewers. Wolf won his third consecutive start last Wednesday in a 3-2 victory at St. Louis, as he held the high-powered Cardinals to a run and three hits in 8 1/3 innings.
The left-hander, who improved to 10-9 in 26 starts to go along with a 4.67 ERA, is 4-4 in 13 home starts this season. He will make his 10th career start against the Dodgers and is 3-2 with a 3.39 ERA over his first nine encounters with Los Angeles. Wolf went 11-7 with a 3.23 ERA for Los Angeles last year.
The Brewers took two of three matchups with Los Angeles at Chavez Ravine back in early May and have won five of the last nine contests between the two ballclubs.