A year ago Ian Kennedy was at the top of the world. He was was the best pitcher on a division-leading team and was on pace to reach 20 wins for the first time in his career.
Nearly a full season later, Diamondbacks fans everywhere are just shaking their heads in frustration wondering where their former ace has gone.
Kennedy has fallen from the Cy Young-caliber season he had in 2011. He’s given up the second most home runs in the big leagues, his ERA has climbed substantially and he already has more than double the losses he had last year.
“He hasn’t been nearly as consistent,” Diamonback General Manager Kevin Towers told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf. “Last year you give Ian a three or four run lead you can bar the door, game over. This year it’s been a little bit of a struggle. He just has a hard time staying away from the big inning. The long ball has hurt him. The strikeouts are still good. The strikeout to walk ratio is decent but fly ball ratio and home runs and more hits then innings is what really hurt him this year.”
Towers attributes Kennedy’s struggles to the workload he’s carried over the last three seasons.
“You know he threw in the playoffs last year. He had 200 innings the prior year and close to 240 innings last year,” said Towers. “Maybe it’s a dead arm. It’s hard to tell. He’s still struck out 160 and is on pace to get close to 200. That’s signs of a pretty good pitcher.”
But Towers is optimistic Kennedy can return to form and lead his team to another division title in the very competitive NL West.
“We’ve seen the Adam Dunns have great years and bad years. It happens in baseball,” said Towers. “I still think he’s going to be a front of the rotation starter and just chalk this up as an average year as opposed to a great year.”