Kennedy solid again as Kansas City Royals take down Seattle in the opener

SEATTLE, WA - JULY 3: Starter Ian Kennedy
SEATTLE, WA - JULY 3: Starter Ian Kennedy /

Ian Kennedy had a good start for the Kansas City Royals last week against Detroit. He had a good start tonight against Seattle. I think that means Ian Kennedy is… on a roll? Of good pitching?

Could somebody, preferably in the Kansas City Royals analytics department, confirm this for us?

In taking down the Seattle Mariners to open a three-game series and six-game, West Coast road trip to close out the pre-All Star schedule, the Royals moved into a tie for the final Wild Card spot.

Which, honestly, is less surprising than Ian Kennedy having won three of his last four starts.

Kennedy didn’t just put together another quality start—on a night where they bullpen was wiped out, Kennedy stuck it out into the seventh inning, scattering four hits and one earned run while striking out seven. His ERA is trending toward respectable and, with today’s report that perhaps the Kansas City Royals would be buying a high-quality arm at the trade deadline, he may have felt a little pressure to bring his best stuff Monday night.

(What the Royals might buy a high-quality arm with is another matter entirely, but let’s not argue semantics. The original Boston Globe report leads its section on the Royals with Scott Boras.)

Whatever pressure Kennedy did or not did not feel is ultimately unimportant. What was important was he kicked off yet another in a seemingly endless series of all-important stretches with a win.

The Kansas City Royals got out to a good start, putting up runs in the first and second to give Kennedy a lead. Lorenzo Cain lifted a sac fly to right that scored Whit Merrifield—who led the game off with a double—to strike first blood in the very first inning.

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Mike Moustakas then showed when mere minutes before his addition to the Home Run Derby was officially announced, clubbing a rocket into the right field seats for his season’s 23rd home run. Steve Balboni’s record-setting 1985 campaign looks in more dire jeopardy by the day.

Kennedy worked himself into his only real sticky situation in the bottom of the second, loading the bases on a Danny Valencia single sandwiched between walks to Kyle Seager and former Royal Jarrod Dyson. A wild pitch got away from Salvador Perez behind the plate—and if you’re picking nits, it was one of two issued by Kennedy on the night, and there could’ve been a couple more if Salvy hadn’t been there to save the day—to score Seager for the Mariners lone run.

In the fifth, Alex Gordon clubbed a broken bat home run. I have nothing to add because that should only be possible for superheroes and high-level HGH addicts to do, and as far as I know, Gordon is neither. If he’s on HGH, he should sue his supplier, to be honest—pharmaceuticals should be required to make a guy better than .198 or your money back.

The game’s remainder passed largely without incident. Kennedy ran out of gas at 105 pitches, giving way to Peter Moylan (having a fantastic season for a guy possessing a 5.86 ERA), Neftali Feliz and Joakim Soria for 2.1 hitless innings.

Soria locked down his season’s first save, recording the final strike on a quick pitch that Valencia took exception to. With a night to stew on it, I’m sure that won’t become a point of contention on Independence Day.

Next: Moose in the Derby is important

Kansas City Royals fans—and Mariners fans, for that matter—are in for an exceptional treat on The Fourth. In his return from injury, Danny Duffy will square off against Felix Hernandez in a 5:40 p.m. (CT) contest.