Kennedy stellar in potential final act for Padres
SAN DIEGO -- If this was Ian Kennedy's final start with the Padres, he surely made the most of it Thursday.
"He was great," said Padres interim manager Pat Murphy after Kennedy -- who will be a free agent after the season -- yielded one run and had no walks with 11 strikeouts as the Padres edged the Brewers, 3-1, at Petco Park.
"[My] fastball was working well, I got away with some [pitches] and the defense behind me made some good plays that picked me up," Kennedy said. "Fastball, changeup combo. I got some strikeouts on the changeup, fastballs up, fastballs down and away."
Kennedy benefited from a strong throw to the plate by rookie right fielder Travis Jankowski that cut down a potential run in the third inning. Jankowski then reached into the seats after running for a ball in foul territory to get an out.
Kennedy finished the season with a 9-15 record and a 4.28 ERA in 30 starts, as he missed two weeks in April after straining his left hamstring during his first start of the season on April 9 against the Giants.
Once Kennedy finally got healthy and found his command, he soared. During a three-month stretch from June 2-Sept. 2, the veteran right-hander posted a 2.63 ERA over 17 starts.
"It was a rough start, getting hurt. It was a rough first month coming off my DL stint. I felt like in June I got back in a groove and pitched well from then on. I'm glad I finished out the second half like I did and pitched like I could," he said.
With this start, Kennedy became the only pitcher in the National League to make 30 or more starts in each of the last six seasons.
Kennedy was seldom in trouble on Thursday, though he allowed a pinch-hit home run to Shane Peterson to start the sixth inning. The next batter, Scooter Gennett, reached on a single.
But Kennedy finished the inning strong, striking out Hernan Perez, Jason Rogers and Khris Davis.
Does this mean for certain Kennedy has played his last game with the Padres?
The club could -- and likely will -- give him a qualifying offer. If he accepts a potential offer, he would return to the organization on a one-year deal for 2016 worth around $16 million.
Kennedy, who is making $10 million, could decline the offer, meaning the Padres would collect Draft pick compensation.
"There's plenty of opportunities to talk. I think [general manager] A.J. [Preller] and [agent Scott Boras] have a good relationship. I feel I have the same relationship with him [Preller]," Kennedy said.
"We'll see how things go this offseason. It's something I'm excited for, to see where things go. But I loved playing here and pitching for the Padres."