The Diamondbacks did everything they could to help get Joe Saunders off the hook last night. Despite going down 7-0 in the first 4 innings, the offense battled back with a six run 6th inning that was sparked with a ridiculous 2-run homerun by 36 year old Cody Ransom. It was a blast you would expect to see in a homerun derby or batting practice- tallying 452 feet and nearly landing inside the TGIFriday’s restaurant in left field.
Unfortunately for the Dbacks, Ransom wasn’t the only one offering souvenirs on the night. The Cardinals offense made it very clear why they are the defending champs sending five long balls into the seats- 3 off of Saunders, 2 off of reliever Bryan Shaw- on their way to a 9-6 win. Joe Saunders would drop to 2-2 on the season a watch his ERA jump to 2.50 as he was knocked out of the game in just 3 1/3 innings. It was his shortest outing since game 4 of the NLDS against the Brewers last October when he lasted just 3 innings on a short leash by Gibson and Co.
Now, as Ian Kennedy prepares to take the hill today, there will very similar expectations of the team’s ace. Once again Kennedy will be asked to stop a losing streak and revitalize a team that has been inconsistent all season. The Diamondbacks have dropped three in a row and five of their last six. Once again he’ll be asked to slow one of the best offenses in baseball. If Kennedy can continue to improve in each of his outings as he’s done so far this year, tonight should be just what the team needs. In his last start Kennedy worked 7 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits.
-The Dbacks have an off day Thursday before hosting the San Francisco Giants over the weekend. That series starts a string of 13 games in 13 days and includes five games against the division leading Dodgers. It will be interesting to see how the team responds over the next couple days and where they sit after that 13 game stretch.
The 2011 season included a similar stretch in which they played 13 games in 13 days in May. That stretch began with a 3 game set in San Francisco in which the team was swept. But following that sweep, the Diamondbacks would catch fire and reel off 15 wins in their last 18 games in May. Similar to this season, in 2011 the team had not been able to string together a win streak up until the middle of May and sat just below .500 at 15-17 on May 8th 2011.
Monday will be the first meeting for the Diamondbacks and Dodgers on the season and offers a marquee matchup. Ian Kennedy will be taking the hill against the reigning Cy Young winner, Clayton Kershaw.