PHOENIX -- Heading into Game 4 of a NL Division Series, plenty of teams would turn to a starting pitcher on short rest to either put a series away or keep a series alive.
The Milwaukee Brewers though feel as confident as ever with Randy Wolf taking the mound against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday with a 2-1 series lead and a shot at the franchise's first playoff series win in 29 years.
"Watching him pitch over the year, when we needed some big games from him, he had some huge games for us when we really needed him to win," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "'Wolfie' has experience. When his command is on, he's got his rhythm going, he can really throw a great ballgame."
Roenicke said before Game 3, which the Brewers would lose 8-1 Tuesday, that Game 1 starter Yovani Gallardo would start in Game 5 of the series should it be necessary, seemingly eliminating any doubt about the firmness of the plan to start Wolf in Game 4.
Particularly with a series lead, the Brewers can avoid returning to the top of the rotation as many teams do. Moreover, they can go to their No. 4 starter with the confidence he'll give them enough to win with their bats because he's probably better than the typical No. 4 starter.
"Everybody kept asking me, 'Who's your No. 1, who's your No. 2, who's your No. 3?'" Roenicke said. "This really went on from Spring Training. I can't tell you that. I really can't. At times through the season I think you could say all five of the guys we had at one time or the other was probably our best pitcher."
Wolf matched his 2010 wins total (13) in 2011 and lowered his ERA from 4.17 to 3.69. Asked Tuesday what he was most proud of about his 2011 season, Wolf spoke of his consistency and ability to bounce back from bad starts. He mostly avoided streaky stretches, but did win five straight games from July 29 to Aug. 26 after losing four straight.
"I want the team to know when I go out, I want the manager to know, the pitching coach and everybody else to have a good idea what to expect," Wolf said. "There's nothing more frustrating with a guy that goes out and some days he's dominant and some days youre lost."
Wolf's last start may not be easy to remember, as he hasn't pitched since Tuesday. Sept. 27. With such a layoff, the challenge becomes staying fresh and prepared for a start despite the change in routine.
"It does feel like I haven't pitched in a while," Wolf said. "Especially for me because I'm a routine guy."
To try to maintain his routine, Wolf extended his regular bullpen session between starts and treated it like a game day. He then began his regular routine leading up to a start. Had the Brewers won Game 3 Tuesday night, Wolf likely would have gone more than two weeks without a start.
Wolf also said Tuesday that his prior playoff experience should help him Wednesday, as he doesn't have any postseason jitters like he did with the Dodgers in 2009. He recalled his first playoff experience as one of the most intense of his career.
"It was one of only two or three times in my career where I was actually really nervous," Wolf said. "It was probably the first time I can remember being nervous since my Major League debut."
After getting it over with, though, it was a whole different experience.
"I felt like it was jus another game and I was able to slow the game down," Wolf said. "I think that experience, at least for me, really helps out."
Wolf will try to slow the Diamondbacks down Wednesday and avoid taking the series back to Milwaukee. As he does it, he'll have eight players around him and more on the bench totally certain he's the right man for the job.