When it was time to name an opening day starter, many thought Daniel Hudson would be tabbed to be the guy given the way he pitched the last two months of 2010 for the Arizona Diamondbacks. I know I thought Hudson should be the guy. Then manager Kirk Gibson names Ian Kennedy as the opening day starter. He was going to be the team “ace”. He has been all that and more. After defeating the San Diego Padres today 6-1, he ran his record to 17-4 and lowered his ERA to 3.04. Yeah, I’d say that’s the stuff an “ace” is made of.
Kennedy quickly became the team ace and made Gibby look smart early, especially after beating Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies for his first complete game shutout at the end of April. He has never looked back.
In my estimation not only has Kennedy improved himself over last season but he has also made everyone else in the rotation try to emulate his winning ways. Joe Saunders, although his record won’t show it, has been a nice fit as the number three guy. Hudson has had his ups and downs, but he has been able to pick himself up quickly after the downs. Josh Collmenter has been a nice surprise. Wade Miley pitched well his last time out. Still has a lot to learn, but learning from a guy like Kennedy should do him well.
He has probably at least five more starts to try and win 20 this season. I think he makes it with starts to spare.