Diamondbacks-Marlins Preview

The Associated Press

Though focused on the present, Ian Kennedy hopes the same approach he took during his stellar 2011 season will help him succeed in 2012.

The right-hander looks for a 10th straight regular-season victory Saturday night while trying to help the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks hand the reeling Miami Marlins a seventh consecutive defeat.

After going 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA for the NL West champions last season, Kennedy (3-0, 3.86 ERA) has picked up where he left off through the first month of 2012. He allowed three runs in seven innings of a 6-4 win over Atlanta on Sunday to improve to 9-0 with a 2.42 ERA in 11 regular-season starts since a 4-1 loss at Philadelphia on Aug. 18.

"I feel like last year is last year,'' Kennedy said. "I just try to go out there with the same approach I've had for the last year and a half. As a pitcher you remember the frustrating times and (then) only the really good times.''

He is 2-1 with a 4.91 ERA in his career against Miami, but Kennedy is likely one of the last pitchers the Marlins (7-12) would choose to face in their current state. Miami has been outscored 20-6 and is batting .151 during its six-game skid.

Joe Saunders tossed a three-hitter and no Marlin made it past first base in Friday's 5-0 series-opening loss.

"A combination of a good pitcher on the mound and a really bad hitting team right now,'' Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Seems like we're not having fun.''

The Marlins have also lost four in a row and eight of 11 at home to the Diamondbacks (10-10).

"Just come (Saturday) and play,'' said Friday's losing pitcher Carlos Zambrano. "It's not like this team isn't capable of doing a lot of things. Just a bad start.''

Shortstop Jose Reyes is likely to be back in the Miami lineup after Guillen gave him the night off Friday. The Marlins' prized free agent pickup is batting .205 in 18 games this season, and is 1 for 12 in his last three.

"I think Jose needs a break mentally and physically,'' Guillen said.

Reyes is 1 for 6 against Kennedy.

Scheduled Miami starter Anibal Sanchez (1-0, 2.79) has pitched well this month but has little to show for it. The Marlins have totaled two runs for Sanchez in his last two outings.

The right-hander allowed a pair of homers among five hits and struck out eight in seven innings of a 3-2, 10-inning loss at Washington on Saturday.

"Awesome, great performance,'' Guillen said. "Hopefully we'll start swinging the bat a little bit better."

Sanchez is 3-1 with a 3.71 ERA in five starts against the Diamondbacks, winning the last two.

He will try to cool off Arizona's Jason Kubel, who had four hits Friday. The veteran outfielder is 16 for 38 (.421) with seven RBIs during a 10-game hitting streak that's seen his average climb from .200 to .333.

Teammate Miguel Montero, who drove in three runs Friday, is 5 for 12 in his last three games. He's 2 for 11 with a home run and a double against Sanchez.

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