Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Ian Kennedy dropped to 0-4 in the month of July after giving up six hits and three earned runs Tuesday to the Tampa Bay Rays. His ERA remains above 5.00 and he hasn’t won a game since June 1.
The former ace’s name has also come up in recent trade rumors.
Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers, in an interview Wednesday with Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf, weighed in on Kennedy’s struggles from the mound this year.
“He’s having a hard time getting the fastball to the spots he wants,” Towers said. “I think that’s the big difference between 2011, last year and now this year.
“The velocity is a tick down. He’s not driving it down in the zone…and when that happens, there’s going to be hard contact.”
Towers also pointed out that Kennedy’s command hasn’t been as strong and his walk rate is up. However, the GM acknowledged that Kennedy’s problems haven’t been purely physical.
“I’m sure some of it has to be mental,” Towers added. “I mean this guy two years ago won 21 games, and right now is probably asking himself, ‘What went wrong? How come I can’t win on a consistent basis now, locate my pitches where I want to and have the same sequence with command and with confidence that I had two years ago?'”
Towers said that even though critics constantly point out the team’s pitching woes, he is more concerned about players on offense, and that more runs from them would take some of the pressure off the pitchers.
“If you can’t score runs, it makes it very difficult on your pitching staff thinking you have to make perfect pitches, that if you give up a couple runs, you’re out of the ball game,” he said.