Kennedy bounces back with authority vs. Mets

Kennedy bounces back with authority vs. Mets

SAN DIEGO -- A few days ago, Padres pitcher Ian Kennedy was talking about the four days starting pitchers must endure between starts.

For a pitcher who is having success, those four days fly by. But for those who are scuffling, the four days seem like 40, when all they want is to get back out on the mound again.

For most of 2015, Kennedy has been trying to find a fix to set him straight -- to try and get him right and get him back in a good place.

He may have found that place Tuesday.

Kennedy (3-5) allowed two runs and struck out eight in six innings as the Padres topped the Mets, 7-2, at Petco Park. It was his first victory since May 6.

"It's not the first time I've struggled like this," Kennedy said. "You find ways to try and bounce back. You want to give your team quality starts and get out of the rut as fast as you can."

That hasn't been easy for Kennedy, who landed on the disabled list with a strained hamstring in his first start and has battled mechanical flaws and inconsistency since, as evidenced by his 7.15 ERA entering Tuesday's game -- the highest of any starter in baseball.

Entering this start, and coming off an outing where he allowed seven runs to the Pirates, he huddled with pitching coach Darren Balsley to go over video and then to work in the bullpen. They worked on throwing angles and release points.

The team's strength and conditioning coach, Brett McCabe, encouraged Kennedy to back off his typical between-starts conditioning routine.

Guess what? It worked.

"He said that if your body isn't feeling that great, let's give it a rest," Kennedy said.

Facing the Mets, Kennedy looked sharp after he allowed a run in the first inning. His fastball had pop, the changeup danced and the curveball darted. He worked fast and, more often than not, got ahead of hitters.

"It makes a world of difference when you're ahead of guys. You can throw your changeup down, and they think it's a fastball," Kennedy said.

San Diego manager Bud Black was impressed with the way Kennedy went about working to get better between starts -- as well as the practical application of it all against the Mets.

"You're always working, always thinking about ways to improve," Black said. "But primarily the work in the 'pen payed off. Once he got through that first inning, had a good second inning, you could see his confidence build with all his pitches."

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.