Kennedy misses mark in return against Dodgers
SAN DIEGO -- If there was an upshot to his worst start in nearly two seasons, it's that Padres right-hander Ian Kennedy left Petco Park on Saturday with a good understanding of where things exactly went awry for him against the Dodgers.
"At the end of the game, I was really frustrated, trying to figure out why my pitches were up," Kennedy said after allowing eight earned runs, including three home runs, in 4 1/3 innings in an 11-8 loss.
So Kennedy, making his first start since coming off the disabled list earlier in the day, headed straight to the team's video room inside the clubhouse where he was able to see a mechanical flaw that has been troublesome to him in the past.
"I'm more of a visual person," Kennedy said.
Kennedy allowed three runs in each of the first two innings and then two more in the fifth. All told, he yielded home runs to Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Howie Kendrick, the back-breaker in that four-run fifth inning.
"I didn't execute a lot of my pitches. And when I started falling behind [in the count], the pitches I tried to locate, I didn't locate them as well," Kennedy said.
But Kennedy saw something on video -- looking at when he's pitched well, like last season, when he had more than 200 innings and 200 strikeouts.
Kennedy said his upper-body rotation in his delivery was off. Instead of driving toward home plate with his shoulders, he was pulled off a little. That problem caused, Kennedy said, his pitches to stay up in the strike zone.
"It's one of those things I've done in the past, I'm trying to get away from. Last year, it was an inning or two or a pitch here and there. I've got it pretty much figured out what it was," Kennedy said.
The eight earned runs were the most Kennedy has allowed in a single start since yielding 10 against the Cardinals on June 6, 2013. He didn't allow more than five earned runs in a start in 2014.
Kennedy returned from the disabled list where he missed two starts because of a left hamstring strain. He pitched in an extended spring game in Arizona on Monday and felt good about his stuff in his pregame bullpen session.
Once the game started, though, things were different.
"Location was off. There were some balls up and out over the plate. They kept going on him a little in the first," manager Bud Black said. "In the second, he was his own worst enemy. Gonzo is swinging it well. The real killer was the Kendrick home run, that ball was up, too."
"He didn't really keep the ball down like Ian can."