Kennedy went seven innings, scattering five hits, allowing one earned run, walking two, and striking out four. More importantly the outing lowered his ERA to a respectable 3.52 and his WHIP to 1.43 after a dismal start to the spring. The way Kennedy has ended spring training on a roll, points to him gearing up for a great season following his stellar 2011 season. The good thing is he was able to shut down the Cubs only throwing 82 pitches in the game.
Other players who will begin the regular season on a roll are Justin Upton and Miguel Montero. Both went two for three with an RBI against the Cubs. Upton upped his batting average to .300 and Montero upped his average to .303 finally starting to come out of his hitting funk.
The fact is Opening Day for the Diamondbacks is 11 days away against the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field and things are beginning to take shape. Players who did not start the spring well have begun to take off and shake the frost off from the winter layoff.
Center fielder Chris Young is poised to finally have his breakout year hitting a blistering .405, a .519 OBP, and a .738 slugging percentage. The most impressive stat of all is his eight walks along with only six strikeouts. Young seems to have fixed his biggest problem, seeing the ball out of the pitchers hand and not swinging at balls out of the strike zone. If he indeed has fixed the problem, Young will finally have the breakout year everyone has been waiting for him to have.
Manager Kirk Gibson announced his starting rotation with Kennedy starting on Opening Day, Daniel Hudson as No. 2, Josh Collmenter as the No. 3, Trevor Cahill as the No. 4, and Joe Saunders as the No. 5 starter. This comes as a surprise to most as it was assumed Collmenter would be the fifth starter and Saunders would be the third starter. While I am sure Gibson has his reasons for the decision, it remains to be seen how it will work out.
Whatever the Diamondbacks have been focusing on all spring it has seemed to work as the team is hitting it’s stride at the perfect time to defend the NL West title as the season begins against the Giants.