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STL@MIL: Roenicke speaks about Wolf's outing in loss

When the Braves step in the batter's box for Friday's home opener, they'll face a familiar situation: another left-handed starter. For the fifth time in seven games, Atlanta will face a left-handed starter in Milwaukee's Randy Wolf. In all, the Braves are scheduled to face six southpaw starters in their first nine games, after going 24-23 against them a year ago.

This particular lefty hasn't fared well in Atlanta, however. Wolf is 5-7 with a 5.01 ERA in 18 games (16 starts) at Turner Field -- his highest ERA at a current park where he's made at least 10 starts. But it isn't just Turner Field. Wolf -- who spent his first eight years in the National League East with Philadelphia -- has historically struggled against the Braves.

Wolf is 5-12 with a 5.28 ERA in 28 career games (26 starts) against Atlanta. And that's hardly the only bad news for Milwaukee, as the Brewers are returning to the scene of a four-game sweep last season that saw them score just six runs.

"I don't remember," manager Ron Roenicke joked Thursday. "They pitched great. At that time, they had an unbelievable pitching staff. I know [Tim] Hudson's down, but they're tough. Offensively, they've got some guys we need to be careful with, but their pitching staff is really -- last year anyway -- what [carried them]. They shut us down last year."

The Brewers are also trying to continue a positive trend that has seen them play well on the road. Milwaukee went just 39-42 away from home last season, and despite Thursday's 8-0 loss, Roenicke knows he has to be patient.

"We still need to score some more, offensively," he said. "We need to be more consistent in our at-bats, and I think that will come. The more we play, and the more we understand what we need to do, we'll get better."

The Braves, who will be without veteran Chipper Jones (scratched with fluid on his left knee), will counter with erratic right-hander Jair Jurrjens, who had an up-and-down campaign last season. After posting an NL-best 1.87 ERA through the All-Star break last year, his ERA quickly escalated because of mounting fatigue and discomfort caused by a bone bruise in his right knee that eventually ended his season.

A slow start to Spring Training was forgotten after Jurrjens allowed only two runs in his final 13 spring innings, but the 26-year-old right-hander struggled in his regular season debut. Jurrjens allowed three runs on seven hits and needed 102 pitches to complete 4 1/3 innings against the Mets as he couldn't find the feel of his offspeed pitches.

"I was trying to do too much today," Jurrjens said after that loss, which was part of a season-opening series sweep. "I was not really pitching to contact and allowing my pitches to do the work. I was trying to be too perfect."

Brewers: Axford in rare company
Closer John Axford converted his 45th consecutive save Wednesday, the fifth-longest streak in Major League history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. With two more saves, Axford will tie Brad Lidge (Sept. 25, 2007-April 13, 2009) for fourth on the all-time list. The record belongs to Eric Gagne, who converted 84 straight from Aug. 28, 2002-July 3, 2004.

Axford, a Canada native, saved 24 games as a 27-year-old rookie in 2010. The right-hander has consistently kept his walks in check against big-league batters, and he's allowed just five home runs in his first 134 games in the Majors.

Braves: Cutting it close
After more than half (84) of Atlanta's games last season were decided by two runs or fewer, it appears the Braves are going to play a similar style in 2012. Four of their first six games this season have been decided by two or fewer runs. The Braves are 1-3 in those games this season after going 44-40 a year ago.

Worth noting
• Aramis Ramirez got a day off Thursday and will be back in the lineup Friday. The veteran's next home run will be No. 313 as a third baseman, giving him sole possession of eighth place on the all-time list for most home runs at the position.

• Ramirez is .417 (5-for-12) with a homer off Jurrjens.

• Wolf has a higher ERA in only one other ballpark than Turner Field: SunLife Stadium, which is no longer in use. Comments