Kennedy still searching for first MLB win

August 15th, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- toed the rubber Tuesday night hoping to fare better in his second career start in the big leagues than he did in his first. He did, but only marginally.

Despite a 10-0 campaign in the Minor Leagues this season, Kennedy fell quickly to 0-2 in the Majors, as the Angels defeated the Padres, 7-3.

The Angels' lineup capitalized on shaky command and misplaced location, tagging Kennedy for nine hits and five runs -- a total that could have been considerably more if it wasn't for nabbing runners at the plate twice. The biggest blow came in the top of the fifth, when uncorked a 435-foot two-run home run into the Angels' bullpen for his second home run in as many days against the Friars.

"I wanted to go back out there for the fifth and get a quick inning," Kennedy said. "But I gave up a leadoff hit and then tried to do a little bit too much with the pitch and left it down the middle. Guys like Justin Upton don't miss that pitch."

After and were lost to waiver claims, and landed on the disabled list, the Padres made it clear their plan was to experiment with the starting rotation. After all, the spots in the rotation of the future are open for the taking, and no one has proved to be a mainstay.

The club promptly called up Kennedy, who despite not being one of the team's top 25 prospects, grabbed attention after posting a 2.72 ERA in 16 starts at Triple-A El Paso.

But the stark difference between the Minor Leagues and the Major Leagues has cast its light on Kennedy, who has struggled to stump hitters since his debut. He labored through five frames on Tuesday, throwing 106 pitches, 63 for strikes. In his two starts combined, he's given up 20 hits and four home runs through nine innings and holds an 11.00 ERA.

Kennedy predominantly relied on his fastball and weak contact in Triple-A. He's missed spots with his heater, though, leaving it over the middle of the plate. He knows he can't fool big league hitters with that and is open to changing his approach by mixing in more offspeed pitches.

"He's thrown on conviction and confidence throughout his Minor League career," manager Andy Green said. "There are times when he's missed middle. … The consistency with which they hit that middle fastball is higher here than Triple-A. When he gets those types of hitters, the ball's got to stay in its lane."

Despite his struggles, it seems Kennedy's spot in the rotation is safe, for now. The Padres continue to stress the importance of testing out their prospects, and Green confirmed that the team isn't done looking.

"We brought him here to get a look at him, see how he would handle pitching in the big leagues," Green said. "It's an opportunity that sits out in front of him still right now. We're going to continue to watch a lot of our young guys take the mound on a consistent basis for the next couple of months." 

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Freddy on fire: The outcome for the other rookie starter in the game was much better. stumped the Padres for five innings -- his lone earned run came on Galvis' solo shot in the fifth. It was the third home run in as many days for Galvis, setting a career-high for longest consecutive home run streak.

Not normally known for his offensive production, Galvis is 8-21 in his last six games with four home runs and eight RBIs. He has a .435 on-base percentage and a .952 slugging percentage in that time frame as well, and has slugged five home runs in his last nine games.

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Galvis takes leadership role in evolving infield

SOUND SMART

With his RBI triple in the sixth inning, recorded the fastest home to third time for the Padres this season. Spangenberg lined a 2-2 breaking ball from down the line in right field, then raced around the bases for a total time of 11.06 seconds -- the eighth-fastest three-bagger in baseball this year.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS

is just two games into his new position at third base, but he's already turning some clutch plays. Speedy chopped a slow roller to Myers in the third inning, and Myers promptly raced in, barehanded the ball and fired on the run to at first for the out. Yes, he still has a perfect fielding percentage at the hot corner.

"Wil's going to be fine over there," Green said. "I think everybody can see that."

UP NEXT

Robbie Erlin (2-3, 3.36 ERA) will square off against Angels' (1-3, 4.95 ERA) in the final game of the series. Erlin has worked his way back into the Padres rotation, after being used predominantly as a long reliever. He's 1-0 in two five-inning starts since the swap. He's posted a 7.41 ERA in his four starts this season however, compared to the 2.05 he notched in 27 relief appearances. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 pm PT at Petco Park.