Lost amid this week's Justin Upton hoopla is the fact that the Braves and D-backs field all-around talented teams. That includes a pair of stocked pitching staffs, which will be on display Wednesday.
After a rough start to the season, Arizona ace Ian Kennedy -- slated to take the hill in Wednesday's series finale -- appears to be finding the form that guided him to 21 victories in the 2011 campaign. The right-hander, who has posted a 1-3 record and 4.83 ERA in eight starts this season, limited Philadelphia to two first-inning runs over seven frames on Friday.
"His velocity was up a little bit last time, he made a mechanical adjustment, his direction was much better going toward home plate," said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson. "I think he came out thinking about some of the things he wanted to change, and it was on his mind too much. But as the game went on, he got more comfortable with it. It's about placement with him, you're going to get tagged sometimes when you throw the ball where you want to, but not often."
In three career outings against Atlanta, Kennedy has fashioned a 1-0 mark and 2.66 ERA.
The D-backs will need Kennedy at his best, because Braves righty Tim Hudson has flat-out owned Arizona during his career. In nine starts against the D-backs, Hudson has compiled a 7-0 record and 1.33 ERA, including a 4-0 mark and 0.94 ERA in five starts in the desert.
"I've always enjoyed playing out here," Hudson said. "It is a great hitter's park and they've had some great lineups. They've just caught me on some days where I've kept the ball down and missed some barrels. Hopefully, it can keep happening that way."
The Braves (22-17) hold a one-game lead over the Nationals in the National League East. The D-backs (22-18) trail the Giants by 1 1/2 games in the NL West.
Braves: B.J. relieved about shoulder
Center fielder B.J. Upton said that he probably would play Wednesday, two days after he was struck in the shoulder by a Wade Miley fastball. Upton sat out Tuesday's contest.
"This is the shoulder that has been repaired in the past," Upton said. "So I've kind of been there before. I didn't like the feel when I went to take the practice swing on deck. It was kind of a red flag for me."
D-backs: Bloomquist on the mend
Shortstop Willie Bloomquist, who tore his right oblique muscle during Spring Training, will begin playing in extended spring training games Thursday.
"He's been out since the beginning of the season so he needs to play some baseball, definitely," Gibson said. "To get up to speed, No. 1, and the other part is just to make sure he's healthy to play some sustained games."
Bloomquist batted .302 in 80 games for Arizona last season.
• D-backs outfielder Cody Ross is batting just .154 (4-for-26) against Hudson in his career.
• In the first two games against his former team, Justin Upton has reached base six times.