Will Kennedy, Padres be together in 2016?

Notes on Kimbrel, bullpen, strikeouts, Spangenberg

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Ian Kennedy halted a personal four-decision losing streak Thursday in his 30th and final start of the season.

The question is, was that Kennedy's last start as a Padre?

The 30-year-old Kennedy is a free agent at the end of the season. The question facing the Padres is whether they pursue him in the off-season.

Kennedy is hoping they will.

"I love it in San Diego," said the Orange County native. "We have plenty of opportunity to talk. We'll see how things go."

In 2 1/3 seasons with the Padres, Kennedy was 26-30 with a 3.97 earned run average in 73 starts. He finished this season with a 9-15 record and a 4.28 ERA in 30 starts. He allowed 31 homers - tied for the third-highest total in the National League - in 168 1/3 innings. He also had 174 strikeouts.

This was not Kennedy's best season.

But the right-hander is one of the National League's most durable starting pitchers. Although he missed two starts in April with a hamstring strain, Kennedy made 30 starts for a sixth straight season. He is the only pitcher in the National League with 30 or more starts in each of the last six seasons.

It is hard to replace that kind of durability, which is why I think the Padres must at least consider retaining Kennedy with so many other areas to address.

Kennedy struck out 11 in six innings Thursday. That is one shy of his career high for strikeouts. Kennedy was 5-6 with a 3.64 ERA since the All-Star break with 98 strikeouts in 84 innings. That was tied for the fifth-highest total in the National League since the break.

And he was 6-2 over his last 11 starts at Petco Park since June 2 with a 2.63 ERA.

FROM THE SCORECARD:

--The Padres finished the 2015 season with an attendance of 2,459,742. That is the seventh-highest total in franchise history and the fifth-highest total in in the 12-season history of Petco Park. The figure represents a gain of 264,369 over last season with the average of 30,367 representing a 3,264 daily gain. Also, Thursday's decisive two-run homer by Yangervis Solarte was the 74th by a Padre at Petco Park this season. The total is one shy of the single-season record of 75 at Petco Park set in 2006. The Padres finished with a 39-42 home record.

--The bullpen worked 3 2/3 scoreless innings Friday night at Dodger Stadium, marking the eighth straight game (a total of 26 1/3 innings) that the bullpen has not allowed a run. That is the longest scoreless games stretch by the bullpen this season and the longest since it also went eight straight games without allowing a run from June 22-30, 2014. Opposing hitters are batting .126 (11-for-87) against Padres relievers during the run.

--Craig Kimbrel struck out two in a perfect inning Thursday while picking up his 39th save. Kimbrel has at least one strikeout in 20 straight appearances dating back to July 30 with only one of those appearances last more than an inning. Kimbrel is averaging 13.20 strikeouts per nine innings this season, the highest average in franchise history for a pitcher with 50 or more innings.

--Padres pitchers struck out 16 Brewers on Thursday in the home finale at Petco Park. It marked the 56th time this season that Padres pitchers had struck out 10 or more hitters in a game, breaking the old franchise mark of 50 times set in 2010. With two games to go, Padres pitchers have recorded a franchise record 1,374 strikeouts (old record, 1,295 in 2010) and Padres starters have a franchise record 884 strikeouts (old mark, 828 in 1998).

--The 16 strikeouts without allowing a walk Thursday was the second-highest strikeout total ever by a Padres staff in a game when they allowed no walks. The record is 17 on Aug. 29, 1998, against Montreal. The Padres have a franchise record six games this season with 16 or more strikeouts.

--Infielder Cory Spangenberg's .271 average is his highest since May 15. Spangenberg is 9-for-20 with two doubles, a triple, four walks, two RBIs and four runs scored over his last six games. Since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 14, Spangenberg is hitting .295 (36-for-22) with a .368 on-base percentage in 40 games. He has eight doubles, three triples, two homers, 10 RBIs and 17 runs scored in those 40 games.

--Third baseman Yangervis Solarte hit a decisive two-run homer Thursday as part of a 2-for-4 game. In 13 career games against the Brewers, Solarte is hitting .356 (18-for-45) with four homers and 11 RBIs.