The Arizona Diamondbacks had another big night at the plate in their last game, but they’ve needed to stay hot offensively given how frequently their pitching staff is giving up runs.
The Diamondbacks will try to move above .500 for the first time since opening day as they close their three-game series against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.
Arizona (5-5) has won four of six after defeating St. Louis 13-8 on Tuesday night. It was the third time in five games the Diamondbacks scored at least 10 runs, but also the third straight game they gave up at least eight.
The Diamondbacks are batting .324 over their last six games and had eight extra-base hits Tuesday, but they continue to get locked up in slugfests. Arizona pitchers gave up 16 hits to the Cardinals on Tuesday - the third straight game they allowed at least 13.
“We are going to get better at dealing with the pressure and these kind of games I think they help with the process,” manager Kirk Gibson, who was ejected in the third inning, told the Diamondbacks’ official website.
While St. Louis ultimately couldn’t keep up at the plate Tuesday, Albert Pujols(notes) had one of his most productive games of the season, recording a season-high three hits to raise his average to the .200 mark for the first time since April 2.
With their bullpens weary, both teams will be looking for their starters to go deep into Wednesday’s game.
Westbrook gave up three runs and eight hits, including two home runs, in 5 2-3 innings of a 5-4, 12-inning loss to San Francisco on Friday. While mediocre, that outing was a marked improvement from his April 2 season debut, when he allowed eight runs in 4 1-3 innings of an 11-3 loss to San Diego.
“As far as being in the zone a little more, making pitches when I needed to, getting some big double plays, it was a lot better,” Westbrook said. “I’m still not where I want to be, but it was definitely a progression from the last start.”
The right-hander is facing Arizona for the first time since 2005, while with Cleveland. He gave up two runs and five hits in eight innings of a 3-2 win in that outing. Westbrook also made a relief appearance against the Diamondbacks in 2003.
He’ll be opposed by Ian Kennedy(notes) (1-0, 2.57), who looks to continue his promising start after yielding one run and six hits in eight innings of a 13-2 win over Cincinnati on Saturday. He struck out nine.
The right-hander, who finished last season 3-1 with a 2.13 ERA over his final nine starts, has picked up where he left off with a strong beginning to 2011.
Kennedy has never faced the Cardinals.