What in the world is wrong with Ian Kennedy?

Jul 14, 2012, 2:56 AM | Updated: 4:29 am

After emerging as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ ace last season and a viable candidate for the NL Cy Young Award, Ian Kennedy has struggled to build upon his successful 2011 campaign.

In fact, at times Kennedy appears unrecognizable to the hurler who dominated hitters so effortlessly last year. So what’s changed so drastically from one season to the next?

Perhaps one problem with Ian Kennedy doesn’t stem from on the field performance but rather the lofty expectations that surrounded him entering the season.

For his career, Kennedy boasts a 37-25 record with a 3.76 ERA, which suggests it was highly unlikely the D-backs’ right-hander would replicate or improve upon his 21-4 record and 2.88 ERA from a season ago.

It’s quite possible last year was an aberration, in which the D-backs’ hurler played out of his mind. Kennedy may not be ace material, but he should still figure to be a top of the rotation starter, which makes the inconsistency of his performance this season all the more baffling.

One area of Kennedy’s game that appears indicative of his season-long troubles is his increased wildness and number of walks.

In Friday’s 8-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs, the 27-year-old hit a batter, walked two and threw two wild pitches in an erratic outing.

Kennedy was tagged for six runs on seven hits, including two home runs to Cubs’ left fielder Alfonso Soriano, and saw his record fall to 6-8 on the year and his ERA inflate to 4.55.

Sure, you could make the argument that Kennedy was a victim of a 3-hour and 40-minute rain delay and shaking off rust from the All-Star layoff, but control issues have certainly plagued the right-hander all year long.

Another troubling aspect of Kennedy’s game is the number of home runs allowed. In 107.2 innings pitched this season, he’s already surrendered 12 longballs. In 2011, Kennedy gave up 19 home runs in 222.0 innings of work.

Kennedy’s number of walks and home runs allowed are certainly alarming, as is his inability to make and locate pitches when behind in the count. There are obvious adjustments that need be made if Kennedy is going to be effective and reliable for the Diamondbacks in the second half.

It’s only been one outing, but so far it’s been a rough start on the road to redemption for Ian Kennedy.

Penguin Air

Arizona Diamondbacks

Ryan McMahon #24 of the Colorado Rockies scores on a Kris Bryant RBI single against the Arizona Dia...
Associated Press

Arizona Diamondbacks pitching gets rocked in loss to Colorado Rockies

The Colorado Rockies scored 11 runs on 12 hits off of Arizona Diamondbacks pitching as the D-backs fell 11-7 on Saturday night at Coors Field.
1 day ago
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel works against the Colorado Rockies during the ...
Jake Anderson

Dallas Keuchel roughed up in 2nd start for Diamondbacks vs. Rockies

It was a rough day at the office for D-backs left-handed starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel against the Rockies at Coors Field on Saturday night.
1 day ago
Cooper Hummel #21 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates his home run against the Washington Nation...
Alex Weiner

D-backs recall OF Cooper Hummel, option 1B/OF Pavin Smith

The Arizona Diamondbacks recalled rookie Cooper Hummel and optioned first baseman Pavin Smith to Triple-A Reno, the team announced Saturday.
1 day ago
(Twitter photo / @Padres)...
Arizona Sports

San Diego Padres unveil colorful City Connect uniforms

The San Diego Padres released MLB's newest and perhaps most colorful City Connect uniforms with a blend of pink, green and yellow.
1 day ago
Starting pitcher Merrill Kelly #29 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws against the Colorado Rockies ...
Jake Anderson

Merrill Kelly, Diamondbacks offense get off to hot start in July vs. Rockies

Arizona Diamondbacks right-handed pitcher Merrill Kelly wasted no time getting off to a hot start in the month of July.
2 days ago
Luke Weaver #24 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a pitch against the Miami Marlins during the f...
Character Counts

D-backs’ Luke Weaver helping raise money for exploited girls in Philippines

D-backs pitcher Luke Weaver is teaming up with Big League Impact to help raise money for exploited and trafficked Filipino girls.
3 days ago
What in the world is wrong with Ian Kennedy?