Right-hander fans six in four-plus innings vs. Cubs
By Chris Gabel
Special to MLB.com |
MESA, Ariz. -- New Royals pitcher Ian Kennedy isn't one to sugarcoat it: Spring Training games don't naturally lift the adrenaline levels.
"But when you walk the first batter of the game on four straight pitches and the next thing you know he's on second with no outs, that makes you get the adrenaline up," Kennedy said of his Sunday start in a 5-2 loss to the Cubs at Sloan Park.
Kennedy stranded Dexter Fowler on third and eventually found a rhythm as he continued to build himself up for the regular season.
Kennedy struck out six in four-plus innings and, like his previous start, worked out of the stretch more often than not. His only clean inning was the fourth, after which the first two reached in the fifth and Kennedy was pulled.
"I fell behind. First-pitch strikes weren't there," Kennedy said. "I'm trying to throw two strikes out of every three pitches; it didn't happen a whole lot. I put myself in holes.
"I was trying to find it early in the game. Early on, [I was] trying to find some stuff that would work. I felt better as the outing went on. I felt like the fastball command was a lot better today than it has been."
The Cubs scored once when Kennedy was in the game and the two runners he left for reliever David Huff both ended up scoring. But manager Ned Yost liked what he saw from Kennedy, as he has much of the spring.
"I don't really need to see anything else. He looks great to me right now," Yost said. "I've been really pleased with what I've seen from him. He was a little frustrated with his command in the first but his command got better and better as he went along. I thought he had great life on the fastball.
"He's a refined strike thrower and his command has been off a little bit. But you see it getting polished up every time out."
Kennedy, who threw 83 pitches Sunday, is scheduled to make two more starts this spring. The next will be Friday at the Giants, when he will look to get up to 95 or so pitches, and then again just before the end of camp.
Chris Gabel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.