Found August 08, 2012 on
Fox Sports Arizona:
Ian Kennedy finally appears to be living up to expectations for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Chris Johnson is surely blowing them away.
Kennedy looks to extend his personal winning streak to five games while Johnson attempts to continue his offensive barrage Wednesday night when the Diamondbacks face the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Kennedy (10-8, 4.15 ERA) finished fourth in the NL Cy Young voting last year, going 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA while Arizona (56-54) won the NL West. The right-hander, however, has struggled to build on his breakout season in 2012, and that's partly why the Diamondbacks are third in the division, four games behind first-place San Francisco.
Lately, Kennedy is doing his part to change that, winning four starts in a row behind a 2.54 ERA after going 1-3 with a 5.84 ERA over his previous six.
He was solid again Friday, yielding two runs in six innings of a 4-2 win at Philadelphia.
"That's all I ask," manager Kirk Gibson said. "Give us a chance to win the game."
Kennedy is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three career starts against Pittsburgh, but he allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings of Arizona's 5-4 loss in the most recent one April 17.
While the Diamondbacks have been waiting for Kennedy to get in a groove, Johnson is producing at a pace they couldn't have expected.
The third baseman is 10 for 29 with five homers and 15 RBIs in eight games since being acquired in a trade from Houston on July 29. His home run total matches his output from his final 67 games with the last-place Astros, and he's enjoying being in a pennant race.
"It's a lot of fun to look at the scoreboard and see what this team is doing and what that team is doing," Johnson said. "Every game means something. Every at-bat means something.
"I felt like I could come in here and help out. I'm probably not going to keep producing like I have been for the last week or so but I do think I can help us win."
Johnson certainly did that Tuesday, connecting for a pair of homers while driving in five runs to power a 10-4 win at Pittsburgh (62-47). He was 0 for 3 as Arizona dropped the opener of this four-game set 4-0 a day prior.
The Pirates, 3 12 games back of Central-leading Cincinnati but still holding down an NL wild-card spot, have dropped three of five. They're 4 for 34 with runners in scoring position in that stretch.
The bullpen was the biggest problem Tuesday, squandering a lead by surrendering seven runs in the final two innings.
Kevin Correia (8-6, 4.49) is slated to get a spot start Wednesday after being removed from the rotation following the acquisition of Wandy Rodriguez from the Astros last month.
The right-hander was switched to the bullpen despite going 6-0 with a 3.89 ERA in his last seven starts. He's made one relief appearance since, allowing four runs in two innings during a 9-5 loss at Houston on July 29.
Correia is 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA in his past three starts against the Diamondbacks, and he's struggled versus Johnson, who is 3 for 5 with two doubles against him.
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When general manager Kevin Towers passed on trading deadline deals that would have thinned the Diamondbacks minor league system, the recent performance of Patrick Corbin was the sort of thing that informed his thinking.
Corbin has made two quality starts since returning from Class AAA Reno to the rotation Aug. 1. He beat the Los Angeles Dodgers with six shutout innings that day...
The Diamondbacks lost more than a game Sunday, they lost catcher Henry Blanco for an extended period because of a sprained left thumb.
Blanco suffered the injury when he tagged John Mayberry Jr. on a close play at the plate in the eighth inning of a 5-4 loss to Philadelphia, as Mayberry attempted to score the tying run from second base after an infield single by Domonic Brown and...
Exploring the Arsenal will run prior to each game, providing you with a brief scouting report on the starting pitcher expected to oppose the Pirates. The chart below shows the horizontal and vertical movement of every pitch thrown by that particular pitcher in 2012. This chart is from the catcher’s point of view. Click here for a general guide to pitch types and classifications...
Pittsburgh's Jeff Karstens hopes this start against the Arizona Diamondbacks goes better than his first.
Based on how he's been pitching lately, his dominance at home and his previous success in the series, he would seemingly have better luck in the rematch.
Karstens tries to win his fifth straight decision and help the Pirates move 17 games over .500 for the first time...
After two weeks in which they had the majors' best offense, the Arizona Diamondbacks aren't going to get too down by a couple of poor games.
Arizona managed only two baserunners - both hits by Paul Goldschmidt - against Erik Bedard and two relievers in a 4-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.
It was the second time in three games the Diamondbacks were shut...
The Arizona Diamondbacks have signed veteran catcher Wil Nieves and will be Miguel Montero's backup according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. Nieves was designated for assignment and later released by the Rockies last week.
Nieves, 34, hit .298/.333/.404 with 1 HR, 5 RBI's and a 87 OPS+ in 51 plate appearances for the Rockies in 2012.
Image by Keith Allison under the Creative...
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