Kennedy vs. Kershaw could be turning point

May 14, 2012, 9:40 PM | Updated: 11:09 pm

Today is May 14. A year ago today, Josh Collmenter beat
the Dodgers in Los Angeles, holding them to two hits and
no runs while his team won 1-0 and, more importantly,
snapped a six-game losing streak. Of course, this win was
the impetus in a historic Diamondbacks stretch that gave
the team 18 wins in 22 games and the top spot in the NL
West.

At the time of Collmenter’s catalytic performance, the D-
backs were 16-22. They had lost nine of their previous 13
games played — 14 of their last 21 — and they were at
the bottom of the division.

Tonight, a year removed from the genesis of that
unexpected climb to the top of the NL West, D-backs ace
Ian Kennedy faces Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and the
Major League-best Dodgers. A win would be momentous and
could very well resuscitate the D-backs, possibly
inspiring another much-needed winning stretch.

With the offense sputtering — and whiffing — the D-backs are desperate for
a starting pitching performance like the one they got from
Collmenter last May 14, one that lifts the team from its
dysfunction and dolor. D-backs’ starters have the second-
worst ERA in the National League in May,
which, combined with the team’s offensive woes,
has yielded a 3-9 record for the month.

At this time last year, no one expected the D-backs to
pull a turnaround. Most predicted them to finish fourth or
fifth in the division, and that’s precisely where they
were on May 14, 2011. This year, things are different. The
D-backs entered the season with some weighty expectations.
The majority of writers had them slated to win the
division, while several significant names foresaw a World
Series berth and one even called them
‘holeless.’

This year, a turnaround is expected. Why shouldn’t
it come in Los Angeles on May 14 for the second year in a
row?

Monday miscellany

• I don’t like blaming injuries as the source of the
D-backs winning difficulties, but it’s worth noting that
the team is 8-17 since Chris Young crashed into the
centerfield wall to rob Pedro Alvarez of an extra-base
hit.

• Speaking of Young, he will be rehabbing with High-
A Visalia today in High Desert, California. He is
scheduled to play with the team Monday, Tuesday, and
Wednesday. The D-backs haven’t given official word on when
Young could potentially rejoin the club, but don’t be
shocked if it’s this weekend.

• I was surprised to learn that the D-backs’ .228
batting average with runners in scoring position was only
third-worst in the division. The Padres (.205) and Giants
(.212) are both doing worse in RISP situations.

• Speaking of situational hitting, Gibby, who was
unusually openly disappointed with his team’s previous two
games (both losses), had an interesting response to a
reporter’s question after Sunday’s game. When asked if
situational hitting was the issue facing the D-
backs, he responded, “I think our total game is [the
issue]. I think we need to get it together.”

• Takashi Saito hasn’t thrown off of a mound yet.

• Cody Ransom’s hot hitting has come to a screeching
halt. He has struck out 12 times in his last 22 at-bats.

• Jason Kubel is 5-for-13 (.385 batting average),
with three doubles and three RBIs from the two-hole this
season.

• Stephen Drew slid nine times on Saturday. Six were
on a mat, three were on the field, and one was head-first
(as a joke, because the whole team was out on the infield
to watch him take feet-first slides). Gibson called Drew’s
sliding “a considerable step.”

• Daniel Hudson will rejoin the D-backs no sooner
than May 27 — he is scheduled to throw 50 pitches on
Wednesday, at his bullpen session with extended spring
training. If that goes well, he’ll likely report to
Triple-A Reno for a rehab start early next week.

• Per the above link, the D-backs lead the majors in
strikeouts. And they face Clayton Kershaw (8.1 K/ 9
innings) tonight.

• Matt Kemp isn’t in the Dodgers’ lineup tonight.
The injury also has him at risk of seeing some DL time.

• After winning 51 home games last year, the D-backs
have recorded a NL-worst .368 home winning percentage (7-
12) so far this season, which has them on pace to have the
exact opposite home record they had last year. Last year,
the D-backs were 51-30 at home. This year, they’re on pace
to go 30-51.

• Save a breakout Monday, there’s more than a glance to report on Justin Upton’s
slump. Look for a more thorough report soon.

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Kennedy vs. Kershaw could be turning point