"We'll see how the game goes," Figueroa said. "Honestly, I always feel like I can go 100 pitches, smile about it and feel good the next day. But it's totally up to this manager and this coaching staff. I feel like I can do fine. As long as I can control their offense, they can keep me in as long as they need me."
The Phillies are turning to Figueroa for his first start of the year because they just placed left-hander J.A. Happ on the disabled list. They could have called up a pitcher from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but they chose Figueroa because he has started in the past and has pitched successfully in three relief appearances as the Phillies' long man.
Figueroa was claimed off waivers from the Mets on Opening Day. He went 3-8 with a 4.09 ERA in 16 games (10 starts) last season for the Mets.
"I think everything works out one way or another," Figueroa said. "If I start worrying about that, then it starts affecting my performance. I'm happy. ... I'm here to help out. I'm here to be the long man for the foreseeable future and do whatever I can."
If Figueroa looks at home when he takes the mound against the D-backs on Saturday at Chase Field, it's because he is. The veteran lives in the Phoenix-metro area and will be pitching in front of a few familiar faces.
He hopes for a better outcome against the D-backs this time around. The last time he faced Arizona, Figueroa gave up six runs on 10 hits, including three home runs, in 1 2/3 innings on Aug. 3 at Citi Field. The D-backs won the game, 6-5.
As for Kennedy, going deep into games has been an issue for him because of his high pitch counts. D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said the third pitch of each at-bat is important for Kennedy because the pitcher will either be ahead -- at 1-2 -- or fall behind -- at 2-1 -- after that pitch. Kennedy has not pitched past the fifth inning this season.
"Well, not getting into as many 3-1 counts would be my first suggestion," Hinch said. "That's important against this club. When they win the race to have two balls instead of two strikes, they're a difficult team to get through. So you've got to get ahead of this group and pitch aggressively. With a lot of good offensive clubs, if you're not careful, the pitcher will tend to pitch around the strike zone, and if they're disciplined and get a pitcher defensive, it's tough."
In his last start against the Padres on Sunday at PETCO Park, Kennedy worked five scoreless innings, striking out seven while allowing just two hits. He left the game with a 2-0 lead, but Arizona relievers allowed five runs in the seventh inning as the Padres rallied for a 5-3 win. Kennedy allowed six runs to the Dodgers in his second start of the year and three runs over five innings in his first start.
"With Kennedy, he's got four weapons, he can use them all," Hinch said. "I've told him that he's got the command that it almost feels like he's throwing balls on purpose, because we know he can throw strikes. He's also got some things that these guys are going to have to adjust to him as well."
Phillies: Victorino thrives against D-backs
Shane Victorino loves facing the D-backs. He is hitting .367 with five doubles, three triples, three home runs and 11 RBIs in his past 14 games against Arizona.
D-backs: Johnson clicking at the plate
Kelly Johnson has reached base safely in each of his past 14 games. He is hitting .354 with seven doubles, five home runs, eight RBIs, 11 runs scored and nine walks during that stretch. ... The D-backs tied a franchise record with three home runs in the fourth inning Friday. The club also hit three home runs in an inning on April 11 against the Pirates.
The D-backs will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day on Saturday because they were on the road in Los Angeles during the league-wide celebration April 15. Prior to the game, the D-backs will recognize Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar Andia Winslow and 10 students from the Genesis Academy who also participated in the YMCA's "Downtown Believes in You" program. George Dean, the D-backs' 2010 recipient of the Jackie Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch, and the national anthem will be performed by fast-pitch softball pioneer Billie Harris, a recent inductee into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.
Sat, 4/24 8:10 PM ET
Phils take homer-heavy battle with D-backs
Jayson Werth's solo shots book-ended blasts by Kelly Johnson and Raul Ibanez. Fine pitching was also on display, with Nelson Figueroa solid in a spot start and Ian Kennedy going eight innings for the first time.
|Castro, Ju, SS||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||.333|
|a-Valdez, W, PH-SS||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.000|
|Figueroa, N, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||2||.500|
|Johnson, K, 2B||3||1||1||2||1||2||0||.327|
|Drew, S, SS||3||0||0||0||1||1||1||.283|
|Upton, J, RF||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.209|
|Reynolds, Ma, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||1||3||.224|
|LaRoche, Ad, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||3||1||.275|
|Young, Ch, CF||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.269|
|Parra, G, LF||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.250|
|Snyder, C, C||4||1||1||0||0||2||3||.268|
|Kennedy, I, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.167|
|Gutierrez, J, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-Abreu, T, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.304|
1-Ran for Parra, G in the 9th.
2B: Castro, Ju (2, Kennedy, I), Ruiz (3, Kennedy, I).
HR: Werth 2 (3, 2nd inning off Kennedy, I, 0 on, 1 out; 9th inning off Gutierrez, J, 0 on, 2 out), Ibanez (1, 7th inning off Kennedy, I, 0 on, 2 out).
TB: Werth 8; Ibanez 5; Castro, Ju 2; Ruiz 2.
RBI: Werth 2 (10), Ibanez (8).
2-out RBI: Ibanez; Werth.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Figueroa, N; Polanco.
Team RISP: 0-for-4.
Team LOB: 4.
Outfield assists: Werth (Upton, J at 2nd base).
DP: (Werth-Castro, Ju).
2B: Young, Ch (4, Durbin).
HR: Johnson, K (6, 5th inning off Figueroa, N, 1 on, 1 out).
TB: Johnson, K 4; Upton, J; Reynolds, Ma; LaRoche, Ad; Young, Ch 2; Parra, G 2; Snyder, C.
RBI: Johnson, K 2 (10).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Kennedy, I; Parra, G.
SAC: Kennedy, I.
Team RISP: 1-for-5.
Team LOB: 7.
Groundouts-flyouts: Figueroa, N 4-4, Durbin 1-1, Contreras 0-0, Madson 1-0, Kennedy, I 10-8, Gutierrez, J 1-2.
Batters faced: Figueroa, N 21, Durbin 7, Contreras 4, Madson 4, Kennedy, I 29, Gutierrez, J 5.
Umpires: HP: Dan Iassogna. 1B: Dale Scott. 2B: Jerry Meals. 3B: Mark Wegner.
Weather: 73 degrees, clear.
Wind: 6 mph, R to L.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media