KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy's recent woes continued on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.Kennedy was rocked for eight runs through three innings, and the A's cruised to a 16-0 victory in the series opener. It was the most lopsided shutout in the Majors this season.The Royals' record for
KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy's recent woes continued on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Kennedy was rocked for eight runs through three innings, and the A's cruised to a 16-0 victory in the series opener. It was the most lopsided shutout in the Majors this season.
The Royals' record for most lopsided shutout loss was 17-0 last year at Minnesota and also 17-0 at home against Detroit in 1991.
Kennedy has permitted 29 runs over his past five starts covering 23 2/3 innings. His ERA ballooned to a season-high 6.08.
Royals manager Ned Yost said the recent issues aren't easy to pinpoint.
"I think it's just command more than anything," Yost said. "I asked [catcher Salvador Perez] what the deal was [tonight] and he just said there were a lot of center-cut fastballs."
After a 1-2-3 first inning, Kennedy allowed a home run to Matt Olson in the second on a 2-0 four-seam fastball.
The real damage came in the third, when the A's rocked Kennedy for seven runs. Olson took an 0-2 Kennedy fastball deep into the right-field fountains for a three-run blast -- Statcast™ projected it to travel 456 feet.
"I literally don't think you could do that again if I just threw pitches down the middle," Kennedy said of the third inning. "You watch batting practice and usually guys get themselves out … and that's without guys changing up speeds. It's frustrating."
While Kennedy's struggles have mounted, right-handed reliever Scott Barlow turned in another effective outing.
Barlow, signed as a Minor League free-agent last offseason out of the Dodgers' system, threw four hitless and scoreless innings on Tuesday to pick up his first Major League win. Barlow was effective again on Friday, throwing three innings in relief of Kennedy and giving up one run while striking out five.
"We really wanted to give him another day of rest," Yost said of Barlow, "but out of necessity we needed him."
Barlow said he didn't feel affected with only two days' rest.
"The day off definitely helped," Barlow said. "If they had needed [me], I would have ran back out there. I had something left.
"My breaking pitches were getting over early. And I had good fastball command. I felt good."
The Royals have had an uncanny knack for hitting into double plays, and that trend continued with three more against the A's. They have hit into a Major League-leading 59 double plays.
Royals right-hander Jason Hammel (2-5, 5.23 ERA) will take the mound at 1:15 p.m. CT on Saturday for the middle game of this series against the A's at Kauffman Stadium. Hammel threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings on Sunday against the Rangers and he struck out a season-high 10. Former Royals righty Trevor Cahill (1-2, 2.25) will start for the A's.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.