|Padres' Kennedy looking for better fate vs. Angels|
SAN DIEGO -- There are so many young starting pitchers advancing in the Padres' minor league system that two or three bad outings could spell doom for an auditioning starter.
Right-hander Walker Lockett learned that last Saturday when a third bad start bought him a return ticket to Triple-A El Paso.
Rookie right-hander Brett Kennedy could be feeling a little of that pressure Tuesday night as he faces the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Petco Park in his second major league start.
Kennedy's major league debut on Aug. 8 didn't go that well. He gave up six runs on 11 with three strikeouts over four innings. He did settle down a bit after serving up back-to-back-to-back home runs in the Brewers' five-run first at Milwaukee.
The 23-year-old was promoted from Triple-A El Paso with excellent credentials -- a 10-0 record with a glistening 2.72 earned run average in the hitter-happy western regions of the Pacific Coast League.
But time could be of the essence here for all Padres pitchers at the moment. Rookie left-hander Eric Lauer is expected to return soon from the disabled list. Top prospects Cal Quantrill and Logan Allen are pitching well at El Paso after being bumped up from Double-A San Antonio. And Chris Paddack and Michel Baez have impressed in their first starts at Double-A.
The Padres could finish the season with a six-man rotation that includes five rookies. Will Kennedy be one? We'll know more after Tuesday night's second game of a three-game, interleague series against the Angels at Petco Park.
Opposing Kennedy will be 22-year-old Angels rookie right-hander Jaime Barria (7-7, 3.59 ERA).
Barria has never faced the Padres. But the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Panamanian is beginning to draw attention.
On the season, Barria has a 1.209 WHIP and a .244 opponents' batting average to go with his ERA. Among American League rookie pitchers, Barria ranks third in wins and opponents' batting average and fourth in ERA.
In his most recent start, Barria pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings against Detroit, allowing five hits and a walk with five strikeouts to get credit for the win. In his last three starts, Barria is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA -- after going 0-6 with a 5.19 ERA in his seven starts leading up to the turn-around.
This will be Barria's fourth interleague start and eighth road start.
He is 1-2 on the road with a 6.35 ERA in his first three outings against National League teams. And he is 3-3 with a 3.50 ERA in his first seven road starts this season despite a .255 opponents' batting average and a 1.31 WHIP. At Angels Stadium, Barria is 4-4 with a 3.66 ERA in 10 starts with a .236 opponents' batting average and a 1.15 WHIP.
As for Kennedy, the Brewers had a .550 batting average against him, going 11-for-20.
A second bad outing might not get him an immediate return flight to El Paso. But as Lockett can attest, there isn't a long leash these days for pitchers auditioning for future spots in the Padres' rotation.