Sunday, July 17, 2011

Kennedy tinkers with mechanics on the fly

By Anthony Fenech / | 07/17/11

PHOENIX -- Ian Kennedy wasn't feeling good during Saturday night's fifth inning, when he was walking batters left and right. The problem wasn't physical or mental, but mechanical.

"I needed to find something," Kennedy said, "either to fix it or pitch around it somehow."

He went to the windup, he went to the slide-step, just trying to throw the ball down the middle, but it kept sailing away.

"I was getting high on the ball," he said, "and trying to get on top of it any way I could."

Usually, he said, he stays in the stretch with a man on third base, whereas many pitchers go to the windup. And without his control, he first tried a slide-step.

"It helped for a couple of pitches, then I knew I needed to go to the windup," he said.

And it worked, as he retired Andre Ethier on a popup to shortstop with the bases loaded.

"It helped," Kennedy said. "It felt like my hands were a lot quicker."

Kennedy walked three batters that inning -- something manager Kirk Gibson said he'd never seen out of the 26-year-old -- and allowed a hit and a run, but he escaped relatively unscathed.

"I felt like I needed to change some things in order to get control of the ball," Kennedy said. "I don't usually change things during the game."

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