In three out of his four appearances, Kennedy has surrendered a home run. On Friday night, he immediately gave up a homer to Jonathan Villar. To his credit, he retired the next 3 batters without incident. A Brandon Nimmo lineout gave Kennedy his first save as a Phillie and his 17th of the year.
Let’s not sugarcoat it. The home runs are concerning. In Texas, Kennedy allowed just 5 homers. He already has 3 given up in Philly. He has a 13.5 ERA in Philadelphia.
Understandably, fans haven’t been impressed.
But guys, let’s try something new. Let’s not give up and start booing Kennedy just yet. He hasn’t even pitched in a 1-run game as of yet.
Not everyone can be like 2008 Brad Lidge. Famously perfect in save opportunities, Lidge came to the Phillies in 2008 and didn’t allow a run in his first 17 IP. Going 41 for 41 in save opportunities is not a normal thing in baseball. No player is perfect, as evidenced by Lidge’s 2009 season. *cough 7.21 ERA cough*
Another thing that isn’t normal in baseball is rolling out your new closer in 3 straight non-save situations. That’s exactly what Kennedy faced in his welcome to Philadelphia, unfamiliar territory. On Friday, Kennedy came into his first save opportunity with a 3-run lead. He did his job and the Phillies won the game, moving the Phillies into first place.
All we can ask is that Kennedy does his job as the Phillies’ closer. So far, he has.
So, let’s try to ignore that ERA for the time being, and let’s welcome Ian Kennedy to Philadelphia with open arms and a Dalessandro’s cheesesteak.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire