Kennedy and Hudson and Enright. Oh My!

Kennedy and Hudson and Enright. Oh My!

Barry Enright, Daniel Hudson, and Ian Kennedy appear to be as good a trio of young right-handed pitchers as there are on any Major League Baseball team. Yet the Arizona Diamondbacks want to see them pitch a little more before anointing them as the next Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, and Carlos Zambrano.

Barry Enright and Daniel Hudson, along with Ian Kennedy, have given the Diamondbacks a reason to be encouraged about their 2011 rotation.

Enright, who will make his 11th major league start Friday night in San Francisco, is 4-2 with a 2.73 ERA since being promoted from Class AA Mobile for a June 30 start in St. Louis. Enright has pitched five innings or more and given up three runs or fewer in each of his first 10 starts, the only active major-leaguer to begin his career with a streak that long.

Hudson is 3-1 with a 1.72 ERA in five starts since being acquired from the White Sox for Edwin Jackson on July 30.  He has 36 strikeouts to just six walks with the D-backs.  Kennedy leads the team in wins, ERA (among qualifiers), and is one behind Dan Haren for the lead in strikeouts.

It is the kind of pitching around which winning teams are built, but interim manager Kirk Gibson wants to give it a little more time before making predictions about the future. It is an understandable caution, inasmuch as Gibson and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. have been around long enough to understand the development process.

"We obviously like what we see," Gibson said. "We've talked a lot about it. I guess when they get their butt kicked, we'll know what we have, because we'll see how they bounce back. We don't want to see it, but it will happen someday.

"If they continue to come back and throw the ball the way they have to this point, then we'll know. It's just another test. Up to this point, they have been outstanding. They're well-prepared. Their work ethic and their work habits when they are not pitching are outstanding. They do everything that they can do to prepare their bodies, their minds, and they are very good at executing a game plan."

Hudson understands.

"It's going to happen sooner or later. We are going to come out and pitch poorly," Hudson said. "I've heard it a lot ... young guys might go out there and shy away from the bats after being hit a couple of times in a row. They want to see how we respond when we take our lumps. They want to make sure we are not afraid to keep pounding the zone."

DIAMONDBACKS 11, PADRES 5: The D-backs broke a nine-game losing streak in San Diego when the offense supported RHP Ian Kennedy with eight extra-base hits. SS Stephen Drew homered and doubled, giving him three of each in the last two games, and 3B Mark Reynolds hit his 28th homer. RF Justin Upton and LF Gerardo Parra had three hits apiece, while Kennedy set a career high with 12 strikeouts and gave up only one hit in seven innings.

SNAKE BYTES

--SS Stephen Drew continued his offensive surge with a double and a home run Thursday, giving him three of each in the final two games of the series in San Diego. Drew has 11 homers, one short of his 2009 total, and 26 doubles, three short of last season. "This park obviously has played big. It's still going to play big. I saw the ball yesterday really good and I saw the ball good today. I've been here before where it seems like I've hit balls and had nothing for it," Drew said. With two homers and two doubles Wednesday, Drew became the fourth major-leaguer with four extra-base hits in a game this season. He joined Boston C Victor Martinez (four doubles; June 1 vs. Oakland), Philadelphia 1B Ryan Howard (double, triple, two homers; June 18 vs. Minnesota) and Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia (double, three homers; June 24 at Colorado).

--RHP Ian Kennedy struck out a career-high 12 and gave up only one hit, a fourth-inning single by OF Will Venable, in seven innings. He was treated to a 9-0 lead after 3 1/2 innings. "Our team scoring a lot of runs early on, you just pound the strike zone and just let them get themselves out," said Kennedy, who struck out at least one batter in every inning. His previous career strikeout high was nine, against San Francisco on May 19. In his previous outing against Colorado on Aug. 20, Kennedy gave up a career-high 10 hits and threw two wild pitches, although the D-backs recovered for a 4-3, 10-inning victory. Kennedy gave the D-backs a scare in the last of the fifth inning, when he pulled up after throwing a 3-1 pitch to CF Chris Denorfia. Kennedy appeared to be bothered by his right calf and trainer Dave Edwards went to the mound to check, but after one warm-up toss, Kennedy struck out Denorfia and retired the next eight batters he faced without incident.

--The D-backs ended a nine-game losing streak at Petco Park with their resounding 11-5 victory Thursday, the last game between the two in San Diego this season. Arizona, 5-10 against the Padres this season, will finish the season series with a three-game set at Chase Field beginning Monday.

--Interim manager Kirk Gibson's mother, Barbara, attended the D-backs' game at Petco Park on Wednesday, sitting in the front row near the D-backs' dugout. "My mom is a baseball goddess," Gibson said. "She's been to so many games over her life. I don't think she's missed one competition I've ever played in. She's a wonderful, strong lady, and she's been very supportive. I suspect she will outlive me." Barbara, 80, wears a necklace with No. 23 on it, the number Kirk wore while playing baseball and football at Michigan State.

DIAMOND STAT: 4.60 -- The D-backs' second-half ERA through August 26.  It was 5.27 before the All-Star break.

QUOTABLE: "To be the best, you've got to beat the best." --- RHP Barry Enright on having faced Ubaldo Jimenez, Stephen Strasburg, and Tim Lincecum (twice) in his first 11 big league starts.


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