Ian Kennedy quietly wins 15th game

Aug 13, 2011, 4:29 AM | Updated: 3:22 pm

The Arizona Diamondbacks, 4-3 winners over the New York
Mets Friday
night, have already surpassed their 2010 win total.

Leading the NL West by a full two games, Arizona certainly
has the look of
a playoff team. You know, candidates for both MVP and Cy
Young, timely
hitting and a good bullpen.

In fact, just about the only thing they’re lacking is
recognition. And that’s
okay with them.

“We’re not here for that,” manager Kirk Gibson said of
being noticed.
“We’re here to win ballgames, and when the season’s over — whenever it
ends — everybody can see where they’re at and hopefully
everybody gets
the recognition that they deserve.”

But, as of now, the Diamondbacks are still viewed largely
as a nice story, but nothing more.

We’ll see how long that lasts.

If the nation was to pick up on what is going on in the
desert, they’d see that Ian Kennedy has won seven straight
starts and has a record that stands at a sterling 15-3.
Those 15 wins, by the way, tie him with Phillies
ace Roy Halladay for the National League lead.

Yet, there are many who wouldn’t know that.

“It’s nice to be up there, tied with him with the wins
lead,” Kennedy said.
“But I know, in the back of my mind, it would never happen
without our
bullpen and there are some times our offense has carried

See, not even Kennedy recognizes how good he’s been! All
kidding aside,
Kennedy, who pitched seven innings and allowed just one
run Friday, has
elevated his game to a level few pitchers have reached
this season.

And while what he’s done may not be known on a national
level, Kennedy’s
ascension is not lost on his teammates.

“No, not at all, but that’s good,” outfielder Justin Upton
said of Kennedy
garnering attention. “We want guys to roll in here and say
‘we’ve got Ian
Kennedy today’ and not know what they’re getting. That’s a
good situation
to be in.”

His ascension is one of the main reasons the Diamondbacks
are not only contending in the NL West, but leading it as

One of the other reasons for the surge is Upton himself.
The All-Star hit his
24th home run of the season in the first inning, giving
the D-backs a lead
they would never relinquish. Upton has now hit safely in
20 of his last 23
games and, in doing so, has forced his way into the MVP

But that’s just it. People are starting to notice Upton,
if even on just a
cursory level. Kennedy is a 15-game winner who is flying
under the radar,
a feat almost as unlikely as him winning 15 games by
August 12.

“Last year we didn’t have a winning record,” Kennedy said.
“I think our
whole team is flying under the radar and I don’t mind it
at all.”

Kennedy gives 100 percent, and that’s a bad thing

Ian Kennedy showed bunt, pulled his bat back and took a
swing. The ball
sailed into right center, dropping for a hit. The pitcher-
sprinted towards first, rounding the base and reaching

And with that, Kennedy drew the ire of his manager.

“He ran too hard,” Gibson said. “Pretty much, for our
pitchers, I have an 80
percent rule.”

Gibson said he has that rule so that his pitchers, who are
not used to
running hard, do not wear themselves out trying to get
that extra base.

“It takes a lot out of the legs when you run as hard as
you can with spikes
in the ground, your adrenaline goes up and then you have
to go right back
out and pitch,” Gibson added.

Fortunately, Kennedy got his legs back a couple innings
later. And while he
finished with a strong effort, he knew he messed up on
that one play
because he was thinking of getting a triple.

“I think that was stupid of me because I think I got a
little tired,” he said,
acknowledging that he knew he broke the rule. “I blew that
rule. I got

“And Daniel [Hudson] said it right to Gibby, he said ‘He
hasn’t got a hit in a
while, lay off him.'”

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Ian Kennedy quietly wins 15th game