Diamondbacks-Dodgers Preview

Ian Kennedy finds it hard to believe he’s on the doorstep of a
20-win season for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The right-hander looks to become the NL’s first 20-game winner
when he tries for a fourth straight winning start over the Los
Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night at Chavez Ravine.

After posting a team-high nine wins for Arizona (86-62) in his
first full major league season in 2010, Kennedy (19-4, 2.90 ERA)
has the chance to become the first Diamondbacks pitcher to post 20
victories since Brandon Webb won 22 in 2008.

“When you’re a little kid, 20 wins is what the best guys do,”
Kennedy said. “When you grow up and learn how hard it is, it’s not
a realistic goal.”

Kennedy has allowed three runs and struck out 32 in 28 2-3
innings while winning four straight starts since losing 4-1 at
Philadelphia on Aug. 18.

He gave up a run and fanned a season-high 11 in 7 2-3 innings of
a 4-1 win over San Diego on Thursday to improve to 11-1 with a 2.15
ERA in his last 12 outings.

“It’s fun to watch,” right fielder Justin Upton told the
Diamondbacks’ official website. “He’s done it night after night.
Every time he steps on the mound he’s been great for us.”

Kennedy has been great at times while going 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA
versus Los Angeles this season. In his only previous start at
Dodger Stadium in 2011, Kennedy allowed a run and struck out eight
over six innings of a 4-1 win May 15.

What seems to impress manager Kirk Gibson most about Kennedy is
the hurler’s appreciation for the effort of his teammates instead
of his own personal success.

“He’s got a good attitude about it,” Gibson said. “He’s
certainly done his part as we all have. He’s very grounded and
that’s one of the things that will make him successful throughout
his career.”

Kennedy will try to help the NL West-leading Diamondbacks to a
second straight victory after they scored five times in the sixth
inning of Monday’s 7-2 win at Los Angeles.

Gerardo Parra matched a career high with four RBIs as Arizona
won for the 17th time in 20 games and shrunk its magic number to
seven to clinch the division title. The Diamondbacks are tied with
Milwaukee for a chance to earn home-field advantage in the opening
round of the postseason.

Matt Kemp hit his 33rd homer Monday for the Dodgers (72-74), who
have dropped two straight after winning 15 of 18.

A candidate for NL MVP batting .318 with 108 RBIs, Kemp is 15
for 41 (.366) with five homers and 13 RBIs in his last 10 games
versus Arizona. Two of his three hits in 11 at-bats against Kennedy
have left the park.

Scheduled Los Angeles starter Chad Billingsley (10-10, 4.30) is
0-1 with a 4.88 ERA in six starts since allowing three runs in
six-plus innings of a 7-4 win at Arizona on Aug. 5.

The right-hander has allowed nine runs – seven earned – in 6 1-3
innings while not factoring in either decision during his last two
starts. He gave up four runs, five hits and three walks in a
season-low 2 1-3 innings of a 7-4 win at Washington on
Thursday.

“Got to locate. I don’t care who you are – you’ve got to
locate,” manager Don Mattingly said.

Billingsley is 1-2 with a 4.12 ERA in three starts versus
Arizona this season.