Last year, Ian Kennedy sucked. For the Royals to have a better-than-expected season, a bounce-back from the club’s highest-paid pitcher was a must. Among other reasons (many other reasons), Kennedy’s disastrous 2018 campaign is part of the problem with the now 20-37 Kansas City Royals.
Kennedy was bombed yet again on Friday night, this time to the A’s and their 10th-best-offense-out-of-15-AL-teams brigade. He allowed eight runs in just three innings, including three absolute bomb home runs, in Kansas City’s eventual 16-0 loss to Oakland.
There really isn’t a lot to analyze here. Oakland got two home runs by somebody named Matt Olson. They got a third from Dustin Fowler. Kennedy allowed eight runs on seven hits and needed 71 pitches to get three outs.
He’s probably the worst regular starting pitcher the Royals have trotted out there every five days since Wade Davis in 2013. It doesn’t help that he’s also the highest-paid pitcher in club history.
That contract was never a good idea. That was Dayton Moore going for it when the window was open for two more years back in early 2016. His hope was clearly Kennedy being good (or even decent) in his first two years and then opt out. Now the Royals are on the hook for a helluva lot of money because Kennedy has been awful. So... to reiterate, the Royals are paying Ian Kennedy way more money because he’s bad than they would have had he been good. This sport makes so much sense!
Kennedy started the year with three straight great starts. His ERA was 1.00 through three games. But in his last nine starts, Kennedy has allowed 39 runs in 42.2 innings.
As for the Royals offense, they got exactly two extra-base hits: doubles by Whit Merrifield and Ryan Goins. The A’s started some dude named Frankie Montas, who had made exactly three big-league starts before Friday, and he naturally threw eight shutout innings.
The bright spot of the evening was from Scott Barlow, who continues to pitch well following his recent call-up from the minors. Barlow entered in relief of Kennedy to throw three scoreless innings, striking out five hitters in the process.
Then Brian Flynn and Jason Adam gave up seven more runs a ninth inning in which the A’s hit for the cycle. 16-0. Yuck. The Royals’ bullpen matched Ian Kennedy by giving up eight runs as a unit.
The Royals are 20-37. At least they raised some money in the Big Slick game. I’m all for letting Tony Gonzalez or Gary Lezak start in place of Ian Kennedy five days from now.
Tomorrow: go get a Whit Merrifield bobblehead. First pitch is at 1:15 pm. Jason Hammel is starting for the Royals. He’s like Ian Kennedy but ever-so-slightly less bad and with way worse hair. God help us all.