April 12, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Ian Kennedy (31) throws during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
If there was ever a time for Ian Kennedy to pitch like the ace he was in 2011, tonight would be the night. The Diamondbacks‘ righty faces the Pirates in game two of the current three game series. Not that Kennedy’s first two starts have been terrible. His record is 2-0 with a 2.84, pretty good stats in the young season. He allowed only one run in six innings in his last outing vs. the Padres.
Tonight needs to be different. For one, the Arizona bullpen could use a rest. Bryan Shaw has already appeared in 6 of the squad’s 10 games. Out of the five starters, only Joe Saunders has gone 7 innings in a single outing; in fact he has done so in both of his appearances. Also, consider the opponent. Pittsburgh as a team is batting a dreadful .188. They have been out West for a full week now, having last played a home game on Easter Sunday. The Bucs have lost 7 out of 8 so far on this trip. Clearly, they are struggling. The timing couldn’t be better for at least an 8 inning performance from the D-Back’s best starting pitcher.
Kirk Gibson recently stated Kennedy was similar to Greg Madduxwith respect to being always one step of the hitter. Tonight’s game should feature him with Maddux-type numbers. Think 9 innings, 1 walk and 8 strikeouts on a total of 93 pitches. That will justify the skipper’s comparison to one of the game’s greatest pitchers.