Wins haven't been coming at a rapid pace for the Diamondbacks as of late, but the club can probably count on Ian Kennedy to at least keep them in today's game against the Marlins.
Miami feels the same way about Anibal Sanchez, who counters Arizona's Kennedy this evening in the second contest of a four-game series.
Kennedy hasn't lost a regular-season decision since an Aug. 18 defeat in Philadelphia snapped a string of seven straight winning starts. He has won nine decisions in a row since, including his first three of 2012.
The right-hander picked up a victory last time out on Sunday, besting the Braves with a season-high seven innings. He yielded three runs on nine hits and two walks while also adding to the offense with bases-loaded walk.
"His stuff was pretty good," said Arizona manager Kirk Gibson about Kennedy, who tossed 111 pitches in the win. "He's going to have an extra day this time. We haven't pushed him too much this year and he felt much better going into the start today."
Kennedy, 27, is 2-1 with a 4.91 earned run average in his career versus the Marlins, who hope they don't waste another solid outing tonight by the 28- year-old Sanchez.
The right-hander has pitched to a 2.79 ERA through his first three outings, but hasn't factored into the decision of his last two following a win at Philadelphia on April 9. Sanchez owns 19 strikeouts to only four walks over 19 1/3 innings.
Sanchez faced Washington last Saturday, when his team dropped an extra-inning decision. The Venezuelan-born hurler was charged with two runs, both on solo homers, over seven innings, striking out eight without a walk.
Sanchez is 3-1 in his career against Arizona in five starts with a 3.71 ERA.
Miami's offense remained in its funk on Friday, following up a winless five- game road trip with a 5-0 loss to Arizona, which saw starter Joe Saunders hurl a three-hit shutout.
Saunders logged the third shutout of his career as he did not allow a runner to reach second base and was helped out by three double plays. That allowed Arizona, which had lost seven of nine, to snap a two-game slide.
"You always want to go out there and get the road trip off to a good start," said Saunders, whose team kicked off a 10-game trek that also includes games against the Nationals and Mets.
Miguel Montero had two hits and drove in three runs, while Aaron Hill smacked a home run to run his string of reaching base safely to 15 straight games. Jason Kubel, meanwhile, extended his hitting streak to 10 contests in a row and he is hitting .421 (16-for-38) over that span with three homers and seven RBI.
Carlos Zambrano gave up three runs on 10 hits and two walks for the Marlins, who have scored two runs or fewer in each game of their losing streak.
"If they score two runs then we're down by 20. That's the way we feel right now," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Guillen also decided to give Jose Reyes a break on Friday, holding his starting shortstop out of the lineup. Reyes came into the game with just three hits over his past 23 at-bats and is hitting only .205 on the season.
Third baseman Hanley Ramirez, meanwhile, went 0-for-3 on Friday and his hitless in his past 23 at-bats.
The Diamondbacks won five of seven versus the Marlins a season ago.