The San Diego Padres starting pitching was supposed to be a strength for the team this season. When you add James Shields to a rotation that already has Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner you form a very formidable trio. Add Ian Kennedy who had 201 innings pitched and 207 strike outs last season, and the staff is excellent.
The year has not started out as planned, and Ian Kennedy has been a major reason for that. His ERA ballooned into the high eights and he has seemed off pretty much all season long.
The dip in velocity is also alarming, as at times last season Kennedy was touching 97 MPH on his fastball. It now sits at 90-92 MPH. That is alarming, but with Kennedy’s arsenal of pitches he should be able to survive.
After the game Derek Norris credited Kennedy for making the needed adjustment and keeping the ball down in the strike zone. He spoke about Kennedy’s change-up and told Fox Sports San Diego reporter Kris Budden that Kennedy had a great change-up and the league knows it. Kennedy needs to pitch off of that pitch and make necessary adjustments with his fast ball.
Kennedy after the game spoke to the media and indicated he was focusing on throwing his fastball in to right handed hitters and down and away to lefties. By doing that it makes his off speed stuff even better and he should continue to build on that success.
Kennedy has always had a great attitude and its nice to see that his recent struggles are not health related. With a few more quality efforts and some more work with Daren Balsley, his velocity should return. One would hope if you are a Padres fan.
This is the last year of Ian Kennedy’s contract. He is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the year. With Scott Boras as his agent, Kennedy is sure to earn top dollar on the open market. His recent struggles have hurt his value some, but he has a lot of motivation to turn it on. If he is healthy, you would expect a huge rebound from Kennedy. Perhaps this start against the New York Mets is the beginning of something big for the right handed pitcher from USC.
It was nice seeing Kennedy make an adjustment after a rough first inning in which he was leaving the ball up in the zone. Pitchers need to make constant adjustments in order to be successful long-term in this game. It appears Kennedy might be headed in the right direction, Padres fans can only hope that is the case.