No, Royals pitcher Ian Kennedy is not actually going to channel Noah Syndergaard for the Royals’ spring-training exhibition game Wednesday against Team Venezuela.
But when I asked Kennedy about starting against Venezuela in the game, he did relay a funny story that may remind Royals fans of Game 3 of the 2015 World Series. You know, when the Mets’ Syndergaard threw high and tight at Escobar to open the game.
“I told Esky I’m going to hit him,” Kennedy said with a grin. “He’s like, ‘No, c’mon man.’ I said we’ve got to make a deal. If I throw him a fastball, he’s got to hit a groundball to shortstop.”
It remains to be seen what will happen when Team Venezuela plays the Royals in its first exhibition game ahead of the World Baseball Classic at Surprise Stadium.
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Of course Kennedy would never do something intentional like that to any player, particularly a teammate.
“I just joked with Esky, just playing with his head, make him uncomfortable,” Kennedy before adding: “Now if I really hit him, that would be bad.”
Yeah, that would not be ideal.
In all honesty, Kennedy doesn’t view the game as anything too special. He’ll be making his third spring start and has his own priorities.
“For me, the important thing is bringing your pitch count up, because usually this early in spring training, the breaking balls aren’t there,” Kennedy said. “At least in my experience, when you try to go to it, it’s not as sharp. It’s not as sharp as anything would be in the season.
“I’m going to mix like a normal spring-training game. It’s Venezuela, but I’m going to get ready for the season, they’re getting ready for the World Baseball Classic. I’m not looking too much into it.”