National League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, May 8th (All times Eastern)
St. Louis Cardinals (18-11) at Arizona Diamondbacks (14-16), 9:40 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: St. Louis - Jake Westbrook (3-2, 2.12) Arizona - Ian Kennedy (3-1, 3.23)
(Sports Network) - The Cardinals have offered starter Jake Westbrook plenty of run support so far this season. He often times hasn't needed it.
St. Louis will look to keep swinging a hot bat for the right-hander this evening against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Ian Kennedy, who puts a 10-game home winning streak on the line in the middle portion of a three-game series.
Westbrook has gone 3-2 with a 2.12 earned run average through five starts this season, with the Cardinals plating 30 runs in his three wins. However, they have been held to just three runs in his two setbacks, a 2-0 loss in Pittsburgh on April 21 and last Thursday's 6-3 home defeat to the Pirates.
That defeat came in Westbrook's worst outing so far this season. His 6 1/3 innings was his shortest outing of 2012 and he gave up season highs of four runs and nine hits while also allowing his first home run.
The 34-year-old is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in three career games versus the Diamondbacks, including two starts.
Westbrook will be opposed by Kennedy, who is 10-0 with a 2.27 ERA in his last 14 starts at home. That 10-game winning streak is the third longest in club history, one back of Brian Anderson (June 15, 1999-June 28, 2000) and three behind Randy Johnson's franchise mark of 13 set from June 3, 2001-April 21, 2002.
Kennedy hasn't lost at Chase Field since May 31 of last season and had won nine consecutive decisions overall dating back to 2011 -- including his first three of this season -- before last Thursday's setback in Washington. The right-hander still pitched well, allowing only two runs on four hits over seven innings of a 2-1 defeat.
Kennedy lost in the regular season for the first time since Aug. 18, but is still 9-1 with a 2.36 ERA in his past 13 outings.
The 27-year-old has split two career decisions versus the Cardinals, but with a less-than-desirable 12.00 ERA.
The Cardinals will look to get to Kennedy early as they scored three runs in the first inning of Monday's opener, marking the seventh straight game they have scored in the opening frame. They eventually built a seven-run lead before holding on for a 9-6 win.
Rafael Furcal hit one of five St. Louis solo homers, going deep in the first inning, while Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday led off the third with back-to- back shots. Allen Craig and David Freese also hit consecutive homers to lead off the seventh inning in the Cards' second straight win following three losses in a row.
The quick offense allowed Lance Lynn to become baseball's first six-game winner. He hurled five scoreless innings, yielding three hits and four walks while striking out seven.
"We're winning games while I'm on the mound, so that's all that matters. That's what I'm here trying to do," Lynn said.
Craig did exit the game in the eighth inning for precautionary reasons after making a diving catch. Craig was playing in just his fifth game after having offseason surgery on his right knee.
Arizona got all of its runs in the sixth inning, one that featured a two-run homer by Cody Ransom, a two-run double off the bat of Ryan Roberts as well as RBI hits by Gerardo Parra and Miguel Montero.
However, Joe Saunders yielded seven runs -- six earned -- over just 3 1/3 innings to suffer the loss, Arizona's third in a row and fifth in six games.
"I didn't have it ... When you don't have it, you're going to give up runs," Saunders said.
The Cardinals won four of seven over the Diamondbacks last season, taking two of three in Arizona in a series in which the teams combined for 51 runs.
05/08 10:35:49 ET