The San Diego Padres were counting on a change of scenery benefiting Ian Kennedy when they acquired him at the trade deadline, and he has yet to disappoint.
His history against the New York Mets suggests that run could continue.
Kennedy looks to remain unbeaten against the Mets as he takes the mound Friday night at Petco Park.
Padres general manager Josh Byrnes held the same title in Arizona when he acquired Kennedy from the New York Yankees in December 2009. The right-hander went 21-4 in 2011 and was a 15-game winner in 2012 before struggling this season.
Byrnes, though, again traded for Kennedy (4-8, 4.97 ERA) this year hoping he could overcome his issues.
Kennedy continued his solid stretch Sunday, giving up two runs and three hits in eight innings before San Diego beat Cincinnati 3-2 in 13 innings. He’s 1-2 with a 3.34 ERA over his last five starts.
The right-hander has had a tough season overall, but he’s been good in two starts for the Padres (54-67) since the trade.
“He was excellent (Sunday),” pitching coach Darren Balsley told the team’s official website. “It’s not fixing things or changing them, but it’s more getting them back to normal.”
Kennedy is used to beating the Mets, as he’s 4-0 with a 3.45 ERA in five career starts against them. His winning streak versus New York was snapped despite a solid performance July 4, when he allowed two runs and struck out eight in seven innings of the Diamondbacks’ 5-4, 15-inning win.
Ike Davis is 3 for 7 lifetime off Kennedy with each hit a solo homer, though he went hitless Thursday as the Mets (55-64) beat the Padres 4-1.
Marlon Byrd hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth and John Buck added a solo homer in the ninth for New York, which was coming off a three-game sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Mets will look to take the second of this four-game set as Jonathon Niese takes the mound Friday.
Niese (4-6, 4.45) returned from a partially torn left rotator cuff Sunday and allowed four runs in six innings of a 9-5 victory over Arizona. It was his first start since suffering the injury June 20 against Atlanta.
”It feels like good,” Niese said. ”There’s nothing like pitching in the big leagues. It’s good to get back out there with all the guys.”
The left-hander is 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA over his last seven starts, and manager Terry Collins was pleased with Niese’s performance in his return.
“You know it’s been awhile since he’s been out there,” Collins said. “I was very happy with the way he threw.”
Niese has been solid against the Padres ever since allowing a leadoff single and retiring the next 27 batters in a 3-0 win June 10, 2010. He’s 2-2 with a 2.15 ERA in four career outings against San Diego after allowing two runs in 6 2-3 innings of an 11-2 win opening day April 1.
The Padres have dropped seven of nine, getting outscored 52-23 in that stretch. Will Venable extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 with a single in the fifth, and Jeff Decker drove in the only run Thursday with a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
San Diego has scored two runs or fewer seven times while dropping seven of the last 10 meetings with the Mets.