When it comes to the history of Diamondbacks pitchers three names always come up: Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Brandon Webb.
If he can continue his current pace, Ian Kennedy’s performance this season could propel him into the conversation.
Granted this is just one season and the all-time significance of Kennedy would still be nowhere near what Johnson, Schilling and Webb accomplished in their time with Arizona, but when you look at the numbers Kennedy is posting, this season could a historical one for the Diamondbacks.
Thursday night’s 4-1 victory against the Padres put Kennedy at 19-4 with a 2.90 ERA. He leads the National League in wins.
Kennedy has already outperformed Brandon Webb’s 2006 Cy Young award winning season, when Webb went 16-8 with a 3.10 ERA.
You could argue that Webb had an even better year in 2008 when he went 22-7 and a 3.30 ERA, Kennedy could start three more games and match Webb’s win total.
It’s hard to believe that anyone could compare Kennedy with the two pitchers who delivered a World Series Championship to Arizona in 2001, but this is a special year.
Schilling’s best season with the Diamondbacks came in 2001. He went 22-6 with a 2.98 ERA. His stats are very similar to Kennedy’s.
But Schilling was much more of a workhorse, throwing six complete games and 293 strikeouts, compared to Kennedy’s one complete game and 178 strikeouts.
Randy Johnson won four consecutive Cy Youngs from 1999-2002. His lowest win total from those four season was 17, but he lead the league with a 2.48 ERA, 12 complete games and 364 strikeouts that season.
The Big Unit’s best season with Arizona came in 2002 when he went 24-5 with a 2.32 ERA, eight complete games and 334 strikeouts.
So maybe Randy Johnson could be the one pitcher to dwarf Ian Kennedy’s season, but that’s not saying a whole lot.
Kennedy has made a strong argument for the Cy Young award this season. He has led the team to first place in the standings. He has pitched just as good as the three all-time great Diamondbacks pitchers. But if he wants to stay up there with Johnson and Schilling, he is going to have to do it all over again in the postseason.