MILWAUKEE -- Randy Wolf didn't expect to repeat his outrageous success against left-handed hitters like he did last season, when he held them to a .159 batting average and only four extra-base hits in 185 plate appearances. But he would like to be better than he has been so far in 2010.
Through his five starts as a Brewer, left-handers are batting .278 against Wolf (righties are only batting .272), and they have five extra-base hits in 42 plate appearances.
"Last year, I wouldn't expect that every year," Wolf said. "It was ridiculous."
The issue this year, Wolf said, is his slider or rather his sliders
. He uses one grip against right-handed batters for a pitch that stays on the same horizontal plane, moving in toward the hitter's bat. He uses another grip against left-handed batters for a pitch with more downward movement to avoid the natural bat path.
"I'm using two different grips, but the way I'm throwing them is the same [right now]," Wolf said. "[Pitching coach] Rick [Peterson] and I talked about using my next side [session] to get more 'depth' down."
File this into the category of nitpicking, because Wolf has been solid so far. He is 2-1 with a 3.34 ERA, and he was three outs away from improving to 3-0 on Tuesday night before Trevor Hoffman suffered a blown save in the ninth inning.