On April 1, Ian Kennedy kicked off his 2013 campaign by securing an Opening Day victory for the D-backs by tossing seven strong innings against the playoff-bound Cardinals. Six months later, the right-hander will finish his season by facing the team he started it with and spent parts of four seasons playing for.
Traded from Arizona to San Diego at the end of July, Kennedy will take the mound Wednesday for the Padres hoping to finish the year with a victory that would be sweeter than most.
To do so, Kennedy will have to bounce back from a rough outing his last time out when the Pirates roughed him up for six runs on eight hits over just 3 2/3 innings.
Wednesday will mark the 28-year-old's second start against his former team after he struggled against the Snakes in Arizona on Aug. 27, surrendering six runs in 4 1/3 innings.
"It was difficult. I knew it would be a little different," Kennedy said after the game. "I just put myself in holes, putting guys on. I walked a lot of guys. It's tough to do that. But it [facing his former teammates] was a lot tougher than I thought it would be."
Opposing Kennedy for the D-backs will be one of the young arms Arizona wanted to make room for in its rotation when it traded its former ace. Randall Delgado will toe the rubber, boasting a 5-6 record with a 3.96 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) this year after coming over from Atlanta in January in the trade that sent Justin Upton to the Braves.
"I think he's only going to get better," D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said. "I think his confidence is probably higher now than it's probably ever been in his career. And I think he feels he fits. He's a good kid with a good head. He's smart. He'll work on the things he needs to to be better. And I think he will be better."
Though he's allowed less than one hit per inning pitched this year, Delgado has served up a staggering 22 home runs in 111 1/3 innings.
D-backs: Owings gets look at second
With the D-backs eliminated from the postseason, manager Kirk Gibson started Chris Owings at second base on Tuesday. It was just his second appearance at that position since being called up earlier this month and the club is trying to get a feel for how versatile he can be.
"I want to see him play there again and get more experience than just one time," Gibson said. "I think the more he does it, the more comfortable he will be. Give him a chance to make some plays and understand it."
With Owings and fellow rookie Didi Gregorius dividing up the playing time at short, veteran Cliff Pennington has been the odd man out. Pennington started Monday night's game, just the second game he's started all month, and collected three hits.
"He came out and had a great game," Gibson said of Pennington. "Don't forget about him. He's a pretty good player. He loves to play. He understands what the situation is, so he's professional about it, but the good thing about it is he's always ready. He does a great job of that. He's a great example for everybody."
Padres: Venable out Tuesday, but could return soon
While Will Venable was still unavailable for Tuesday's game against the D-backs, Padres manager Bud Black sounded optimistic that the outfielder could return to action for some portion of the final week of the season.
Venable has not played since Sunday due to an abdominal injury that Black said has been nagging Venable for a few weeks.
"We are going to stay away from Will again today," Black said Tuesday. "We are going to see how this abdominal strain continues to progress, but we are hopeful that he will be back in there. I know that he feels as though he can help us win."
• The D-backs lead the Majors with 32 one-run wins and 32 wins in their last at-bat, including one Tuesday night.
• The Padres are 5-2 against the D-backs at Petco Park this season.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.