Ian Kennedy of the Diamondbacks has rediscovered his 21-4 form of a year ago since changing his delivery two starts ago, while Colby Lewis of Texas has been prone to the home run ball. Take Arizona as an underdog Tuesday.
Look for a nice-sized upset in interleague play on Tuesday night when the rejuvenated Ian Kennedy and the Arizona Diamondbacks (30-30 overall, 15-14 away) take on Colby Lewis and the Texas Rangers (35-26 overall, 15-11 home) as the teams begin a three-game series from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, TX at 8:05 ET.MLB Pick
The money line at Pinnacle Sports has Arizona as a nice underdog for this contest at current odds of +156.
Strangely, the Diamondbacks have a losing 15-16 record at home and yet are one game over 500 on the road at 15-14. That break-even 30-30 record leaves Arizona in third place in the National League West, eight games behind the first place Los Angeles Dodgers.
With that said, the D-Backs did get to .500 by winning the last five games of their just completed six-game home stand, culminating with a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics this past weekend. They now look for their sixth straight win with their ace Kenney on the mound.
Kennedy had a career year last season when he finished an unbelievable 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA and garnered some Cy Young Award votes. Some regression was to be expected this year, but at 5-5, few people expected him to have more losses already at this point of the year than he had all of last season, especially with the five losses coming in consecutive starts between May 3rd and May 25th!
However, Kennedy tinkered with his mechanics before his outing two starts back vs. the San Francisco Giants, slightly tweaking his delivery to allow him to, in his own words, “stay on top of the ball better”. Apparently, Kennedy knew what he was doing as he allowed one run and five hits in 7.2 innings with seven strikeouts that night, and he followed up by tossing six shutout innings while allowing only five hits and striking out 12 Colorado Rockies last Tuesday.
Now obviously the potent Texas lineup will test Kennedy, but the fact that the Rangers have never faced him before should work to his advantage the first time through the lineup and Kenney’s velocity has actually increased as the game has gone on in each of his last two outings.
The Rangers are coming off of a disappointing 4-6 road trip where they lost two out of three games to the second place Los Angeles Angels and then lost three out of four games to the last-place team in the American League West, the Athletics. Texas enters play tonight with a shrinking 2½-game lead over the hard-charging Angels.
Now we have always felt that Lewis is underrated, and he is doing his thing again this season while mostly under the radar, posting a 3.38 ERA and an excellent 1.05 WHIP that belies his 4-5 record. However, the very reason that he has a losing record is that he has been prone to the home run ball, allowing an alarming 14 dingers in 12 starts. That is a huge concern in Arlington for someone that is not really a strikeout pitcher, as the ball carries well in the wind tunnel here.
Thus, Arizona appears to have the pitching edge in this game provided the fix Kennedy made to his motion two starts back is permanent, and that would mean that the Diamondbacks offer great value at this overlay underdog price on Tuesday.
: Diamondbacks +156