San Diego Padres rookie RHP Brett Kennedy was roughed up in his pro debut but will look to rebound on Tuesday night.
Using a fastball-heavy mix in his pro debut, San Diego Padres RHP Brett Kennedy struggled against the Milwaukee Brewers last week. He became the first pitcher in MLB history to give up three consecutive home runs in his first major league inning, however, he finished his brief outing strong and will look to rebound as he makes his Petco Park debut tonight, against the Los Angeles Angels.
Looking past his final stat line of four innings pitched, 11 hits allowed, and six earned runs, there were a number of positive takeaways from Kennedy’s first start.
He didn’t walk anybody. The adrenaline was clearing flowing through Kennedy’s body during his debut, averaging more than 93 mph on his fastball (per Fangraphs). Up to this point, Kennedy remained in the 89-91 range with his bread and butter pitch. While his fastball routinely hit spots no major league pitcher wants to see, keeping hitters off base via the walk was one positive sign.
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Once he settled in, Kennedy’s use of the slider increased and he limited Milwaukee hitters to just two hits over his final two frames of work. He was able to make adjustments during his start, didn’t allow his first two innings to phase him, and he finished off his job. That mental toughness showed a lot and will, hopefully, help him move past the first outing and move on to tonight’s start.
As a team, the Brewers’ lineup has feasted on the fastball. In fact, the lineup Kennedy faced last week had done serious damage to major league fastballs this season. Don’t expect Kennedy to use that fastball any less. That’s his pitch and he (along with Andy Green) remain confident that it can play at the major league level.
Kennedy will make his Petco Park debut tonight, matching up against a Mike Trout-less Los Angeles Angels. As a team (Trout included), the Angels are hitting just .260 against fastballs, the 25th best mark in Major League Baseball. Fun fact, or depressing fact, the Padres sit in 26th, with a .259 average against heaters.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 pm tonight. The Angels will counter with RHP Jamie Barria who will be making his first career start against the San Diego Padres.