Kennedy working on fix for early season woes

Padres starter discovers release-point issue after watching video

Kennedy working on fix for early season woes

SAN DIEGO -- Unlike a hitter going through a slump, Padres pitcher Ian Kennedy can't fix all that has troubled him this season through the act of repetitive motion.

"As a starter, it's nice to have four or five days between starts. But when you don't do well, you want to get back out there," Kennedy said. "Unlike hitters, we can't just go out there every day and take 200 cuts in the cage."

Kennedy, who allowed seven earned runs in 3 2/3 innings on Thursday in a loss to the Pirates, has been hunkered down with pitching coach Darren Balsley since then, breaking down video and, on Saturday, working on mechanics during a routine bullpen session.

"Yesterday's bullpen was really good … probably one of the better ones of the year," Kennedy said. "Hopefully it correlates into success on the mound. I guess that's part one of the process."

Kennedy's struggles this season extend beyond his start against the Pirates. He's allowed five or more earned runs in a start on four occasions this season. He strained his left hamstring during his first start of the season on April 9 and the season has been variable ever since.

Kennedy, who will start Tuesday against the Mets, will do so with a 2-5 record and a 7.15 ERA. He has the highest ERA of any big league starter with at least eight stars.

"My command is not where it needs to be. That's what I need to have to be good," he said, "… There has been a lot of pitches running back over the plate or hanging over the plate.

"I've struggled in the past. This isn't the first time. But I can't look back at it anymore. I have to fix this."

Kennedy feels he'll be better prepared when he takes the mound against the Mets, the results of working closely with Balsley since Thursday.

"I sat down with Bals and spent some time with him looking at it. I know he's spent more time with it, because he feels it as much as you do when you don't succeed. We looked at a lot of video and a lot of other things," Kennedy said. "For me, it's visualizing what I see on video and repeating it out there [in the game]."

One of the things Kennedy has struggled with is his release point, letting go of the ball too soon, which has caused him command issues.

"It's finishing out front. Where the ball was [released], it wasn't in front of me," he said. "The only things I could do were cut it off and pull it or let it run back over the plate. But now, it's more letting the ball finish and release out front more."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.