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D-backs’ Kennedy home for a change, set to face Dodgers

He insists it’s just another start.

The opponent is irrelevant.

At least that’s what Ian Kennedy kept telling the assembled media — a dozen or so reporters, who surrounded him in front of his locker inside the Arizona Diamondbacks’ clubhouse.

Tuesday, Kennedy makes his 17th start of the season and his third start against the Dodgers. But it’s his first start against the Los Angeles Dodgers since his pitch to Zach Greinke sailed high and tight, hitting the right-hander and sparking a bench-clearing brawl between the teams.

“The Dodgers have gotten a lot better,” Kennedy said Monday prior to the series opener.

Throwing at Greinke, unintentional or not, earned Kennedy a 10-game suspension, which he served following his next start.

Six turns through the rotation later, Kennedy is set to face the Dodgers once again.

He wouldn’t discuss the brawl on June 11, but he did discuss the budding rivalry between the two NL West foes.

“Even last year when they were starting to make some trades you noticed that there was more people in the stands, more Dodger fans here,” Kennedy said referring to the August acquisitions of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett. “They made it more exciting and they’re playing well, so that makes it even more exciting. They’re on a charge and we’re trying to keep where we’re at.”

Greinke shut down the D-backs over seven shutout innings in the series opener.

Kennedy now gets his turn, and it comes at Chase Field, a place he hasn’t thrown at since May 15, ending a string of seven consecutive road starts.

“Feels like it’s been longer,” he said smiling. “Yeah, it’s been awhile. It’s going to be nice to pitch at home in front of your own crowd and your own mound and your own field. I’m looking forward to it.”

Kennedy, who will be making his fifth attempt at career win No. 50, understands the importance of each start.

“We’re in first place, but this division is a lot of fun to watch right know,” he said. “I think how close from top to bottom we are all that it’s going to be fun all the way to the end.”