National League Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, June 16th (All times Eastern)
Arizona Diamondbacks (37-31) at San Diego Padres (34-34), 4:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Arizona - Ian Kennedy (3-4, 5.49) San Diego - Clayton Richard (1-5, 8.06)
(Sports Network) - Ian Kennedy was in the midst of a solid outing last time out before emotions boiled over and an ejection ended his evening.
With a 10-game suspension hanging over his head, Kennedy will try to stay focused on the field Sunday afternoon when the Arizona Diamondbacks try to avoid getting swept in their three-game series with the San Diego Padres.
Kennedy did not factor into a 5-3 setback at the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday, giving up a pair of runs on just four hits and two walks before getting tossed with one out in the seventh inning. The right-hander was given the boot for hitting Dodgers starter Zach Greinke up high with a pitch.
Kennedy had previously hit Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig in the face with a pitch an inning earlier and Greinke retaliated by plunking Arizona catcher Miguel Montero in the back during the top of the seventh.
The head-high pitch to Greinke caused the benches to empty and several skirmishes broke out. A number of players were ejected and discipline was further handed out on Friday, with Kennedy getting a 10-game suspension, the longest for a pitcher since Kansas City's Runelvys Hernandez was banned for 10 games in 2005.
Kennedy is appealing his suspension as is infielder Eric Hinske, who was hit with a five-game ban for aggressive actions during the incident. Manager Kirk Gibson served his one-game suspension in Friday's opener.
"You look at the history and my history and the history of things happening with first offenses in the past and that's why I'm going to go through the appealing process," Kennedy said on Arizona's website. "I think 10 games is -- I think they're trying to set an example."
Lost in the game was the fact that the 28-year-old was rebounding nicely after yielding 10 runs and 13 hits in a loss at St. Louis in his previous start. Kennedy stands at 3-4 on the year with a 5.49 earned run average in 13 starts.
Kennedy lost in San Diego on May 5, touched for five runs over 5 2/3 innings. He served up home runs to Jedd Gyorko and Will Venable while falling to 7-2 lifetime in this matchup with a 3.17 ERA in 12 starts.
The Diamondbacks will try to salvage the finale of this set and avoid having their lead atop the NL West further reduced. Arizona has lost five of its past seven and owns just a 1 1/2-game lead over San Francisco and Colorado for first place.
The Padres have pulled within three games of the D'backs by taking the first two games of this set, and Saturday's 6-4 win gave the club a .500 record for the first time since it was 4-4 on April 10, 2011.
San Diego, which began this season 5-15, picked up a season-high fifth straight victory as Yasmani Grandal hit a go-ahead three-run homer during a five-run fourth inning. It was his first home run of the season and helped Jason Marquis secure his ninth win of the season.
Marquis won his eighth decision in a row after allowing three runs over 6 2/3 innings.
"It was a goal, but the end goal is obviously to win as many games as possible and get to the playoffs," Marquis said of hitting the .500 mark. "We got to a goal that we wanted to accomplish but it doesn't stop there."
Saturday's win gave San Diego a 5-3 edge in the season series with Arizona and the Padres will look to move above .500 for the first time since ending the 2010 campaign 90-72.
Montero hit an early two-run homer for Arizona, but Wade Miley was tagged for six runs -- one earned -- over six innings of the loss.
"After they stung us for five runs, I didn't like our at-bats at all," Gibson admitted. "We should have rebounded better than that."
Clayton Richard will try to prevent Arizona from rebounding today as he looks to crack the win column for the first time this year as a starter.
The left-hander picked up his first win of the season on May 31 versus Toronto, but it came in a relief role as he hurled the final two frames of a 17-inning victory for San Diego. Richard has struggled in two outings since, getting a pair of no-decisions.
On June 4 versus Los Angeles, the 29-year-old gave up six runs over 4 1/3 frames, then yielded four runs in six innings of work in an eventual 8-7 setback in Colorado on Sunday.
Richard is 1-5 with an 8.06 ERA in 10 total appearances this year and that includes a rough outing versus Arizona on May 4. He was hammered for seven runs -- five earned -- on seven hits and four walks over just 3 2/3 innings of a loss.
It was the first setback of his career versus Arizona as he had won his first six career decisions against the club.
06/16 10:28:49 ET