Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 5/3/12
While the Arizona Diamondbacks' Ian Kennedy is undefeated since late August, he suggests he's yet to really find his groove this season. The Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper appears to have found his. Seeking a 10th consecutive winning decision, Kennedy looks to slow down Harper as the visiting Diamondbacks and NL East-leading Nationals conclude a three-game set Thursday night. After posting a 6-0 record over his final seven starts last season, Kennedy is 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA through five turns in the rotation in 2012. Though he's off to the best start of his career record-wise, opponents are batting .299 against Kennedy - significantly higher than the .227 he limited them to last season. The right-hander had a difficult time hitting his spots during Saturday's 3-2 walk-off loss at Miami, yielding one run, seven hits and three walks over 6 1-3 innings. Kennedy had issued fewer than three free passes in each of his previous 12 starts. "Definitely, the whole night was a battle trying to throw strikes," Kennedy told MLB.com. "It wasn't very fun pitching like that, feeling like you had runners on every single inning. My fastball was up, my offspeed was up. ... I feel like I've had 'C' stuff every time (out)." Kennedy has had his way in this series of late, going 2-0 while allowing a combined three runs over 21 innings spanning his last three starts. In his last meeting with the Nationals (15-9), Kennedy tossed seven frames of six-hit ball during a 2-0 road win Aug. 23. Kennedy, however, has yet to face Harper, who after going a combined 2 for 9 in his first three big-leagues games, came up huge in Wednesday's 5-4 walk-off victory. The No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft went 3 for 4 and scored a pair of runs - the second coming on Ian Desmond's game-winning homer off Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz with two outs in the ninth inning. "He was born for these situations," manager Davey Johnson said of Harper, who led off the ninth with a double - his second of the game. While the Nationals had scored a combined seven runs during a season-worst five-game losing streak, they're hoping Wednesday's victory will get them back on track. "You guys are asking the wrong questions," Desmond said. "We're in first place. We're playing good baseball." Arizona (13-12), meanwhile, saw both its overall three-game winning streak and four-game run at Nationals Park come to an end. "It won't be the last time it happens to us this year," manager Kirk Gibson said. "We're playing good baseball. We just have to shake this one off and come back (Thursday)." Winners of nine of 12 at home, the Nationals give the ball to Ross Detwiler (2-1, 1.64). After allowing only one earned run over his first three starts, Detwiler was tagged for three in six innings of Friday's 3-2 road loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The left-hander was excellent in his only matchup against the Diamondbacks last season, surrendering one run and six hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-1 victory Aug. 22, earning the win. Detwiler will need to be wary of Justin Upton, who went deep for the second time in three games Wednesday. The slugging right fielder has gone 7 for 19 against lefties this season.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Osweiler: Film from last two years proves I should be starter

Daughter of Bucks owner burns Bill Simmons on Twitter

Tiger Woods tells golf world to try and kick this football he’s holding

Tyronn Lue: Gameplanning to defend Celtics harder than Warriors

How the Senators can upset the Penguins in Game 7

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Paxton Lynch cutting out early while other QBs stay late

Michael Jordan unique 1984 Converse shoes could fetch up to $100K at auction

Joe Girardi has interesting reason why no medical scans for Masahiro Tanaka

Ezekiel Elliott’s mom fires back after son criticized for being in car accident

Browns make Ryan Grigson senior personnel executive

Potential No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz looks positively jacked in recent photo

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

Box Score 5/24: Craig Anderson saves the Senators

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

Box Score 5/23: Preds, Warriors move on to respective Finals

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker