With the All-Star Game just a few weeks away, it is currently a hot topic amongst fans and members of the media who will be on both team’s rosters for the game in Phoenix. One thing is becoming more and more certain, however, Ian Kennedy should be one of the pitchers on the National League roster.
Except for one hiccup earlier in the season against St. Louis, the Diamondbacks have had a realistic shot to win every game that Kennedy has pitched in. Arizona is 11-5 in games where Kennedy has thrown and in three of those games, the offense failed to score enough runs for the right-hander.
Kennedy ranks very high in most pitching statistics. He is only one victory behind a pack of leaders for wins, he is tied for 16th in ERA in all of baseball with Philip Humber and Anibal Sanchez, and is tied for 18th with former Diamondback Dan Haren in strikeouts.
It is hard to find a pitcher more consistent than that.
One of Kennedy’s biggest strengths this season has been his ability to throw strikes, which was a big time concern earlier in his career when he was with the Yankees organization. In 108.2 innings so far this season, the 26-year-old has only 29 base on balls. That is a drastic improvement over his 2010 season, when he had 70 walks in 194 innings.
That hasn’t what has made Kennedy an All-Star caliber pitcher though. It has been his ability to take over as this team’s ace, which has been a big time adjustment for the youngster. Last season, Haren was the clear number one starter of this staff, but Kennedy was thrown into the fire on Opening Day by Kirk Gibson, and he has lived up to the challenge.
Former Diamondback starter Curt Schilling use to say that one of the biggest jobs of an ace on a staff was to stop losing streaks and Kennedy has already done that already twice this month. In a start a few weeks back in Florida, Kennedy helped turn things around by ending a skid where his team had lost four of five games. He didn’t get the win against San Francisco last week, but his great start put the Diamondbacks in a situation to end their two-game skid against the Giants.
Because of all this, Kennedy should be a National League All-Star in his home park. He shouldn’t be the game’s starter because there are others who are much more deserving, but he should be given the chance to participate in his first Midsummer Classic in front of his home fans.