D-Backs VS. Rays Series Preview

By Chris Lacey

Jul 19, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Ian Kennedy (31) pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning at AT&T Park. Image Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Diamondbacks missed a golden opportunity during their last home stand to take advantage of their schedule. They played the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres, two under .500 teams. The D-Backs should not have had any issues with them but struggled, going 3-4 throughout the two series.

They now have to go on the road and face three teams from the American League that could be in the postseason. The road trip begins with them going up against the hottest team in Major League Baseball. The Tampa Bay Rays are 21-4 in the month of July and lead the AL East division by half a game over the Boston Red Sox.

Game 1 (Tuesday): Ian Kennedy (3-7, 5.22 ERA) vs. Roberto Hernandez (5-11, 4.92 ERA)

Kennedy will be searching for his first win since June 1 when he takes the mound, and win No. 50 of his career. In three of his last four outings, the right-hander has allowed five or more runs and he has yet to pitch more than seven innings in a start this season.

The veteran righty allowed three runs on seven hits in five innings on Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox to take his 11th loss of the season. The opposition is hitting .286 against Hernandez this season, with right-handers hitting .250 against him. He is decent with runners in scoring position, as teams are just hitting .250 in this situation.

Game 2 (Wednesday): Wade Miley (7-8, 3.86 ERA) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (10-3, 4.48 ERA)

After a rough May and June, Miley has bounced back in a big way this month. After five July stars, Miley has recorded three wins, 24 strikeouts and has allowed just seven earned runs in 33 1/3 innings, good enough for a 1.89 ERA.

Hellickson allowed one run on four hits and two walks while striking out three against the New York Yankees on Friday. He has now won his last six decisions. The right-hander is holding opposing batters to a .250 average this season, and right-handers can only muster a .237 batting average.