While the overachieving Arizona Diamondbacks are fresh off the
completion of an improbable run to the NL West title, the San
Francisco Giants are on the verge of becoming the first World
Series champion in five years to miss the playoffs the next
One day after watching the Diamondbacks clinch the division
crown, the Giants look for some rare success this season against
20-game winner Ian Kennedy on Saturday night at Chase Field.
Rookie Paul Goldschmidt’s two-run, tiebreaking triple in the
eighth inning gave Arizona (91-66) a 3-1 victory Friday to complete
a worst-to-first turnaround and win the fifth division title –
first since 2007 – in the franchise’s 14-year history.
“They are a team that really does play until the end,” Giants
losing pitcher Matt Cain said. “They find different guys each night
to spark plug the offense.”
The Diamondbacks, who went 65-97 in 2010, are not content with
simply reaching the postseason 10 years after the club’s only World
“We are going to keep coming out and playing hard,” infielder
Ryan Roberts said. “We kept believing and that’s what we are going
to do going forward.”
San Francisco (84-73), meanwhile, would be eliminated from
postseason contention with another loss. The 2007 St. Louis
Cardinals were the last team to miss the postseason one year after
winning the World Series.
Losers in three of four since winning eight in a row, the Giants
managed to remain competitive despite a rash of injuries to key
“We are breathing. Five games left, we are still breathing,”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “That is why there is no need to
talk. We’ve still got baseball.”
The Giants face a huge task against Kennedy (20-4, 2.88 ERA) who
takes the mound after he allowed one hit and struck out a career
high-tying 12 in eight innings of a 1-0 win over Pittsburgh on
Monday to become the NL’s first 20-game winner.
Arizona’s first 20-game winner since Brandon Webb won 22 in
2008, Kennedy is 5-0 with a 1.48 ERA in six starts since losing at
Philadelphia on Aug. 18. That is the right-hander’s only defeat
while posting a 2.21 ERA and winning 12 of his last 14 starts.
“What a season he’s having,” Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz
said. “He’s worked his butt off all season long, and he’s been our
ace and then some, and hopefully keeps going and gets some hardware
at the end of the year.”
As good as Kennedy has been overall this season, he’s been
better while going 2-0 with a 0.87 ERA and 31 strikeouts in four
starts versus San Francisco in 2011. In his only home start against
the Giants this year, Kennedy yielded an unearned run and fanned 10
in eight innings of a 3-2, 10-inning victory June 16.
Carlos Beltran, 4 for 11 with a double and triple versus
Kennedy, has hit .432 (19 for 44) during an 11-game hitting streak
for the Giants.
San Francisco’s Eric Surkamp (2-0, 2.95) makes his fifth career
start and first versus Arizona on Saturday. The left-hander worked
around six walks to allow one run over 4 2-3 innings during a 6-5
win at Colorado last Saturday.
“What I like about him is his poise,” Bochy told the Giants’
official website. “He doesn’t cave in.”