Ian Kennedy and the Arizona Diamondbacks try to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers for the seventh straight time on Thursday when the National League West rivals begin a four-game set at Dodger Stadium.
Kennedy has not been the pitcher who won 21 games for the D-Backs a year ago and enters this opener having lost three of his last four starts. Kennedy absorbed the loss on Saturday against San Diego, as he allowed six runs and four hits and walked four batters in 5 1/3 innings.
"Honestly, it's crazy and it's frustrating, but my arm feels really good," said Kennedy, who is 11-11 with a 4.44 ERA. "That's what drives me nuts. I feel really good and I'm not having success. It's just part of this game. It's a humbling game."
Kennedy lost to the Dodgers the last time he faced them and is 3-2 with a 4.46 ERA in six starts.
Arizona will be happy to hit the road after it lost its sixth straight game on Wednesday, falling to the Cincinnati Reds, 6-2. The loss capped a miserable 10-game homestand that saw the Diamondbacks claim just two wins.
"We scored 13 runs in our last six games. The games that we lost, not a lot is going right," said Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson. "Everybody is searching and the more you search the tougher it gets at times."
It doesn't figure to get any easier on Thursday, as Arizona goes up against reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, who has won five of his last six starts. Kershaw's latest win came on Saturday against Miami, as he allowed two runs and three hits in eight innings. He also struck out eight and improved to 12-7 to go along with a 2.84 ERA.
Kershaw lost to the D-Backs the last time he faced them, but is 7-3 lifetime against them with a 2.41 ERA in 12 starts.
Los Angeles snapped a three-game losing streak on Wednesday, as A.J. Ellis hit a grand slam and Hanley Ramirez added a two-run shot to help the Dodgers avoid a sweep at the hands of the Colorado Rockies with a 10-8 win.
Adrian Gonzalez added two hits and drove in two runs for the Dodgers, who won for just the third time in nine outings.
Joe Blanton (9-12) allowed 10 hits and three runs over 7 1/3 innings for his first win since being acquired by Los Angeles.
"I just tried to keep the ball down as much as I could. Still, you're going to give up hits and runs with such a big outfield here," Blanton said. "I tried to keep the balls out of the gaps and make them hit singles. That's the only way to have a decent chance to win."
Arizona is 8-4 against the Dodgers this season.