Ian Kennedy has struggled for the Kansas City Royals so far in 2020, but it’s not time to give up on him yet.
It seems like every time that Ian Kennedy takes the mound, he gives up a homer. Let’s all just take a deep breath before we write him off though because if the Kansas City Royals are going to seriously make a run into the expanded playoffs, Kennedy will be critical.
On Wednesday night, Kennedy had a very rough seventh inning. He entered the game after Brad Keller once again had another stellar start putting him at 11.0 innings pitched without yielding a single run in two starts this season.
Kennedy came in and helped the Cincinnati Reds climb right back into the game by quickly giving up a solo home run to Jesse Winker and a two-run home run to to Freddy Galvis without even recording an out.
Those three earned runs after only facing three batters jumped his ERA from 4.15 to a hefty 7.88. It started to spark the question of – “What should the Royals do with Ian Kennedy?”
The answer to that is simple.
Get him back out on the mound again on Friday. There is plenty of reason to believe in this despite Kennedy giving up six home runs in only eight innings of work.
The problem is there is nothing really the team can do. With the trade deadline taking place on the 31st of August, it’s hard to imagine a team willing to give much in return for Kennedy despite the fact that he closed 30 games in 2019 with an ERA of 3.41.
Its those numbers and a career ERA of 4.11 that should at least encourage Royals fans to just step back and relax.
The best thing right now is to simply realize that the Royals are in good enough shape that they can weather these early woes from a starter converted into a reliever that has pitched in 63 other appearances from the bullpen.
Manager Mike Matheny will most likely use him a role to pitch in long relief in games where the Royals are being blown out or have a relatively larger lead (though they were up by five when he entered Wednesday’s game).
Yes, the Royals have a crop of young arms that all fans are anxious to see make their MLB debut, but using up Kennedy to the end of the season looks like the best option even though he has already given up six total home runs in his nine appearances out of the pen.
Kennedy is still throwing strikes, he has just missed consistently up in the strike zone. If he can find a way to get his pitches down and get more groundouts, he’ll once again get back to what we saw in 2019.
Out of the six bombs given up, it is worth noting that only one of those took place at Kauffman Stadium. It’s also worth noting that Kennedy is a veteran who has the ability to bounce back soon.
Remember that Greg Holland and Trevor Rosenthal also struggled in recent seasons. Both appear to have returned to once again be critical to a team’s bullpen success. Ironically they have played in previous seasons under Matheny and have made their return with him as their manager.
Mike Matheny will not be giving up on Ian Kennedy any time soon, so there is no doubt he’s going to play a key role during the next 41 games in 2020. Let’s just all hope he’s part of games where he helps the Kansas City Royals win.