Ian Kennedy is hoping to shake off the worst performance of his career, but he’ll have to do it against a team that has already given him some trouble this season.
Kennedy tries to continue the visit Diamondbacks’ recent dominance of the Dodgers on Tuesday night.
After a 5-4 win Monday, Arizona (36-28) seeks its sixth straight win over Los Angeles and 17th in 21 meetings. Dodgers closer Brandon League was unable to protect a 3-1 ninth-inning lead as the Diamondbacks scored four times, taking the lead on a two-out, two-run infield single from Willie Bloomquist. The Dodgers’ third straight loss and late collapse spoiled Clayton Kershaw’s strong start, which saw him allow one run over seven innings.
“The games that you’ve got a chance to win, and you’ve got the right people in the game, when you don’t win those — especially against the teams you’re chasing — it’s especially painful because it’s a two-game swing,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Bloomquist is 14 for 30 in nine games since returning from a strained right intercostal on June 1.
“I was just trying to stay up the middle,” he said of his go-ahead hit. “I didn’t hit it great, but sometimes direction is better than hitting it hard.”
Kennedy (3-4, 5.72 ERA) gave up career highs of 10 runs and 13 hits — including three homers — over four innings in a 12-8 loss in St. Louis on Thursday. The right-hander had never allowed more than 10 hits in 123 previous career games.
“It’s really going to motivate me to work harder into this next start,” Kennedy said. “I hate this feeling. Make sure I don’t have this feeling again.”
Prior to that last outing, Kennedy’s worst start this year had been in a 7-5 loss to the Dodgers on April 13 when he gave up six runs, 10 hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings. He threw 13 2/3 scoreless innings in his previous two starts against Los Angeles.
Juan Uribe tried to spark a rally for the Dodgers on Monday with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth, but Adrian Gonzalez’s groundout a few batters later ended the game with runners on the corners and Yasiel Puig on deck
Puig has yet to slow down from his sensational first week in the majors, now 16 for 32 with a slugging percentage of .938. He was 3 for 4 Monday, hitting from the No. 4 spot after batting leadoff in his first seven games.
Pitching for Los Angeles will be Zack Greinke (3-1, 3.89), who struck out a season-high seven over seven innings in a 5-0 win over Atlanta on Thursday. Greinke had posted an 8.78 ERA in his previous four starts.
“I’d been struggling, but I felt like I’d been pretty close,” said Greinke, who still walked three and is walking 2.68 batters per nine innings, his highest rate since 2006. “Right now is not my sharpest, but just working on it, trying to get better.”
The Diamondbacks are responsible for two of Greinke’s worst career starts. He was charged with seven runs in 2 1/3 innings the last time he faced them, an 8-5 loss on May 26, 2012. Arizona also tagged Greinke for a career-worst 11 runs in 4 1/3 innings when he was with Kansas City on June 10, 2005.
Hanley Ramirez wasn’t in the Dodgers’ lineup for a fifth straight game Monday, still nursing a left hamstring injury.