A struggling Ian Kennedy hasn’t been at his best when facing the Chicago Cubs, but he’s gotten enough run support to collect wins in his past two matchups.
Judging by how his Arizona teammates have hit against the Cubs this season, Kennedy might get similar backing in Wednesday night’s game at Chase Field and could help the Diamondbacks return to the top of the NL West.
Kennedy (3-7, 5.29 ERA) is 3-2 with a 6.65 ERA in seven career starts against Chicago, his second-highest ERA versus any NL opponent.
Kennedy, though, has gotten a combined 13 runs while winning his past two starts against the Cubs. He gave up four runs over seven innings in his lone matchup this season, a 12-4 win June 1.
The Diamondbacks (52-48) are batting .315 with 34 runs in their five games against Chicago (44-54) and had 14 hits in a 10-4 win Tuesday. A.J. Pollock and Eric Chavez each had three RBIs to help their club stay within one-half game of division-leading Los Angeles.
Arizona, which batted .194 in its previous 11 games, went 6 for 13 with runners in scoring position after a 6-for-42 stretch.
“It’s definitely good to get the offense going,” Pollock said. “We know we have it. For whatever reason it’s kind of been lacking in the last week or so. It’s good to bust out and show we’ve got it. We’ve just got to relax.”
Kennedy would appear to need all the run support he can get as he’s 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA in his last three games. The right-hander, however, gave up two runs over six innings in a 2-0 loss in San Francisco on Friday.
“You just try to be positive,” he said. “Just keep going out there, grind away, find adjustments to do. That’s what I really tried to do.”
Jeff Samardzija, meanwhile, will try to build on a strong outing in his return from the All-Star break. The Cubs right-hander gave up one run over 7 1-3 innings in a 3-1 win in Colorado on Friday after going 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA in his first two starts this month.
“We changed a couple things with my mechanics, kept me on line a little more,” said Samardzija, who is 4-5 in 10 road starts despite a 2.56 ERA. “I’m really excited to stop making adjustments and really just working on pitch selection and pitch location. As a pitcher, sometimes those things happen. It clicks for you and you go from there.”
Samardzija (6-9, 3.91) is 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA in two starts against the Diamondbacks. He gave up three runs, seven hits and four walks over 6 1-3 innings against Kennedy on June 1, but also struck out 11 and left without a decision.
Junior Lake will try to help Samardzija earn his first win against Arizona by adding to his spectacular debut. Lake is 12 for 22 (.545) in his first five major league games and is 7 for 12 with two homers in this series.
Alfonso Soriano, reportedly drawing interest from the New York Yankees - with whom his career started in 1999 - is 6 for 13 (.462) against Kennedy with three home runs. He’s batting .360 with 17 homers and 38 RBIs in his last 33 games versus Arizona but is 0 for 7 with four strikeouts in this series.
Miguel Montero is the Diamondbacks’ only active player with more than one hit against Samardzija, going 3 for 6 with a triple.
Cubs outfielder David DeJesus, who has been on the disabled list since June 15 with a sprained right shoulder, could be activated for this game.