Usually, being compared to former Cy Young award winner Vida Blue is a good thing.
However, that wasn’t the company Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy wanted to keep in this instance. Kennedy was the winning pitcher in the Royals’ 10-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium, and he snapped a 17-game winless streak.
That was the second longest in the majors behind Ryne Stanek, the former Blue Valley High School star who is one of the Tampa Bay Rays relief pitchers who doubles as an “opener.” Kennedy finished one game shy of tying Blue’s 18-game winless streak in 1982-83 that remains the Royals record.
“Anytime you get a win, whether you pitch five (innings) or go eight or nine, a win’s a win,” Kennedy said. “It’s hard to come by. One time I went eight innings and we were up 1-0 and it got erased right away. It’s kind of part of it.”
Kennedy, 2-8, who allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts, made his second start since coming off the disabled list last Sunday. He had missed two months because of a strained left oblique.
Saturday night’s game was his second straight quality start, and Kennedy has allowed two earned runs in 12 innings of the two games, both against the Twins.
Kennedy threw 98 pitches on Saturday, relaying a bit more on his curveball. He threw the pitch 33 times, which is nearly double his normal usage this season.
“Early on, it wasn’t really there, and I told Cam (Gallagher), we’ve got to keep going to it, because I’m going to find it,” Kennedy said. “It just felt like there were good situations where I could throw it. I threw some bad ones and I gave up a couple hits on some bad ones, but overall I felt pretty good with it especially later on in the game.
“I threw it for strikes and quality strikes and get some groundballs out of it.”