Grit Index: Kennedy helps D-backs win seventh straight opener
The Arizona Diamondbacks started off their 16th season on the right foot Monday night, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2 at Chase Field. With the win, the D-backs extended their Opening Day win streak to seven games — tied for the longest-active streak with the Seattle Mariners.
D-backs starting pitcher Ian Kennedy picked up right where he left off at the end of 2012. After giving up back-to-back doubles and a run in the first inning, Kennedy settled down and held the Cardinals’ offense in check. Kennedy’s final line was impressive, as he gave up two runs on five hits in seven innings of work. Arizona’s ace also struck out eight batters.
If you had to pick one bad part of the D-backs’ 6-2 victory, it would have to be their strikeouts.
Arizona struck out eight times on the night, however their seven doubles more than made up for it.
The other noticeable blemish was Gerardo Parra getting thrown out trying to steal second in the bottom of the fifth inning. That was a trend with Parra last season and a point of emphasis with him during the off-season.
• Ian Kennedy’s eight strikeouts Monday were tied for the fourth-most by a D-backs starter on Opening Day. Randy Johnson had 10 on April 3, 2001 against Philadelphia, nine on April 5, 1999 against the Dodgers, and he recorded eight on April 1st, 2002 against San Diego.
• A.J. Pollock’s three hits were tied for the most by an Arizona rookie on Opening Day, joining Travis Lee, who achieved the feat during the D-backs’ inaugural game back in March 1998.
• Gerardo Parra tied his career-high with four hits. Of those four hits, three went for doubles.
• Arizona outfielders (Jason Kubel, Parra and Pollock) combined to go 9-for-13 with three RBI.
• The D-backs’ seven doubles were the most by the team since August 26, 2010. That’s also the most doubles they’ve hit on Opening Day.
• In the win, Arizona set a franchise-record for most hits (15) in a season opener.
Some Opening Day Numbers:
• The D-backs had three players (Patrick Corbin, Alfredo Marte and A.J. Pollock) make the Opening Day roster for the first time in their career.
• Monday’s contest marked the first Opening Day matchup between the D-backs and the Cardinals, but the third time Arizona opened the season against an NL Central opponent.
• The D-backs are 10-6 on Opening Day and 6-4 at home.
He Said It:
“Of course the pitching performance by Ian was awesome. I really don’t know how else to explain it. He really got rolling there in the fifth inning. Had everything working, fast ball spotted well, humped up to 94, that’s kind of the old Ian we saw a couple years ago. Had a phenomenal change up, breaking ball was good, he had it all working for him.” — D-backs manager Kirk Gibson on Ian Kennedy’s start
The D-backs host the Cardinals for second game of their three-game series Tuesday. D-backs right-hander Trevor Cahill will get the start against St. Louis’ Jaime Garcia. First pitch is slated for 6:40pm and you can catch that game on Arizona Sports 620.