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.