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The 606 - July 24, 2010
Dan Port | Saturday July 24th, 2010
Rookie Madison Bumgarner takes on Kennedy in Arizona this Saturday. (AP)
Rookie Madison Bumgarner takes on Kennedy in Arizona this Saturday. (AP)

Baseball Press presents "The 606", a look at the most intriguing pitching matchup of the day, with a final prediction of the winning pitcher. You may be asking yourself "What exactly does The 606 mean? There's no major league baseball for that area code- it's in Eastern Kentucky!" BBP isn't listing players from Eastern Kentucky either. The 606 is short for 60 feet and 6 inches. If you still don't understand, I direct your attention to Official Rule 1.07 from Major League Baseball, referring to the distance from the pitching mound to home plate. Now that we've got that squared away, let's take a look at today's featured pitching matchup for Saturday, July 24th.

Yesterday, Fausto Carmona had another good outing against the Rays, going 5 innings before an early removal due to a rain delay.  The weather allowed just a seven inning game, but Carmona gave up just one hit and one unearned run in his start, improving to 10-7 for the season.

Win: Fausto Carmona (5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 0.40 WHIP)

The 606 Season-to-Date Record (W-L-ND): 89-76-50, 3.83 ERA (566 ER in 1329.1 IP)

Rookie Madison Bumgarner takes on Kennedy in Arizona this Saturday. (AP)

Today's 606 takes us to the summer heat of Arizona, as a rookie phenom takes on a young righthander in an NL West showdown.  The Giants are battling for the playoffs in a close divisional race, while the bottom-dwelling Diamondbacks are determined to play spoiler this weekend.

LHP Madison Bumgarner - SF (3-2, 2.41 ERA) vs. RHP Ian Kennedy - ARI (5-7, 4.02 ERA)
Three straight victories have tossed highly-touted pitching prospect Madison Bumgarner into the fray of the excellent 2010 Giants pitching staff, joining Tim Lincecum , Matt Cain , Jonathan Sanchez , and, yes, even Barry Zito , all of whom have ERAs under 3.50.  Bumgarner has made 4 of his 5 major league starts on the road, and he'll do so again on Saturday in Arizona.  He's allowed just 2 earned runs in his those last 3 games (19.2 innings), with 14 strikeouts and just a single home run allowed, so he appears to be adjusting nicely to the major leagues.  At the young age of 20, there will certainly be some growing pains for the lefthander, but his stellar minor league track record indicates he may soon be one of the better young hurlers in baseball.  In 355.2 total minor league innings, Bumgarner went 34-6 with a 2.00 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 315 strikeouts against 77 walks.  His 3.16 ERA mark in 14 starts at AAA Fresno is the lone season that his minor league ERA has been above 2.00, a testament to his ability to keep runs off the board and keep his team in games.  As the Giants push toward the playoffs, they're certainly hoping Bumgarner's success continues to carry over into the majors.

Things were looking pretty rosy for 25 year-old Arizona pitcher Ian Kennedy back on June 9th, 2010.  He had just made his 13th start of the year, notching 7 shutout innings against the Atlanta Braves and sitting on a 3-3 record with a 3.17 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.  From there, however, Kennedy followed up with a rough 6 inning, 6 run outing against the Red Sox, a so-so 6 inning, 3 run game against Detroit, an ugly 5.1 inning, 4 run, 9 walk performance against Tampa Bay, and an awful 5.2 inning, 7 run, 9 hit performance against the Chicago Cubs.  Granted, all but the last of those troubles came against solid American League lineups, but Kennedy's season certainly turned there.  He's managed to get back on track lately, though, with wins in his last two games (both at home) against the Marlins and Mets, allowing just 3 runs in 10.1 combined innings there.  He'll happily make another home start on Saturday at Chase Field, where he has posted a 3.32 ERA in 9 games this year (compared to a 4.70 mark on the road).  He's fared well against the Giants this season too, going 1-0 with just 3 runs allowed in 14 innings, good for a 1.93 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 15 strikeouts.

Final Prediction: Madison Bumgarner

Dan PortDan Port has been a writer and article editor for Baseball Press since the fall of 2009. He's a Wisconsin native and Los Angeles resident, as well as an aspiring novelist, moderately successful gambler, and avid craft beer aficionado. You can reach him at dan@baseballpress.com or check him out on Twitter @danport and at DanielPort.com.