Kennedy looks to turn in another dominant outing when Arizona opens a three-game series at the punchless Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
The Diamondbacks (59-88) are all but mathematically assured of finishing last in the NL West for the first time since 2004. However, they’re coming off a split of a four-game series with Central-leading Cincinnati including a 3-1 win in Thursday’s finale.
“One thing you never want to be viewed as is a quitter,” Gibson told the team’s official website. “I don’t think anybody in here wants to do that. Nobody’s quitting.”
Kennedy (9-9, 3.87 ERA) has shown that he hasn’t given up, going 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his last six starts and tossing a career-high 16 consecutive scoreless innings over his last three.
The right-hander could use some offensive support in his first start against Pittsburgh (48-98). He didn’t get a decision in either of his last two outings despite allowing four hits in 14 shutout innings, as the Diamondbacks supported him with a total of two runs.
Kennedy scored one of those runs himself Sunday, when he had a career-high three hits and threw six two-hit innings at Colorado. His leg cramped up while runnings the bases, though, and he was removed from Arizona’s eventual 4-2 loss.
“I’m not going to mortgage his future and have him continue to throw,” Gibson said.
The Diamondbacks took two of three from Pittsburgh at home April 9-11, and swept their last series at PNC Park from Aug. 4-6, 2009.
The Pirates are opening a nine-game homestand, during which they’ll likely clinch their first 100-loss season since 2001. They got swept in a four-game set at New York, culminating in a 6-2 defeat Thursday to cap a 1-6 trip.
Pittsburgh hit .197 in the series against the Mets, and have a league-low .239 average on the season.
The left-hander yielded one run and four hits in seven innings Sunday, but didn’t get a decision in a 3-1 win at Cincinnati. That performance came six days after he allowed one run in six innings of a 3-1 home win over Atlanta.
Burres is 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA in three home starts this season.