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INSIDE BASEBALL / DOWN THE LINE

Ian Kennedy has a shot at Cy Young

Diamondbacks' unlikely ace has helped keep Arizona in first place.

August 20, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • Arizona Diamondbacks' Ian Kennedy is tied for the National League lead with 15 wins.
Arizona Diamondbacks' Ian Kennedy is tied for the National League… (D. Ross Cameron / Contra…)

A vote for Kennedy

Odds are that the National League's Cy Young Award will go to someone from Philadelphia because the Phillies have three strong candidates in Roy Halladay (15-5, 2.53 earned-run average), Cole Hamels (13-7, a league-best 0.99 walks and hits per innings pitched) and Cliff Lee (12-7 with a major leagues-best five shutouts).

But the most valuable pitcher in the NL this season has clearly been Arizona right-hander Ian Kennedy, who is tied with Halladay and Clayton Kershaw for the league lead with 15 wins and has made more starts and given up fewer hits that the Phillies' ace.

Halladay is surrounded by quality arms. Kennedy, who has won seven of his last eight starts, has almost single-handedly kept the first-place Diamondbacks in contention in the NL West. He is one of two Arizona starters with a winning record — Daniel Hudson, 12-8, is the other — and the Diamondbacks are 10 games over .500 in games he starts.

Given that, if Arizona winds up making the postseason, perhaps Kennedy should get some MVP votes as well. Not bad for a guy the Yankees gave up on and who started the season with a career record of 10-14 with a 4.33 ERA.

Timely teamwork

Credit the Cleveland Indians' clubhouse with a big victory this month in Boston.

Minutes after coming off the field, third baseman Jack Hannahan got a message that his wife, Jenny, was going into labor — three months prematurely — with the couple's first child.

The next flight to Cleveland didn't leave until 6 a.m., too late for Hannahan to make his son's birth. And chartering a plane would have cost $35,000 — a little steep even given the third baseman's $500,000 salary.

So a group of teammates led by Travis Hafner, Justin Masterson, Chad Durbin, Austin Kearns and Shin-Soo Choo began taking up a collection.

In few workplaces could you collect $35,000 in a matter of minutes by passing around a ballcap, but the Indians did it.

"It wasn't one guy. Every single person threw in to help out," Masterson told mlb.com. "When you're not sure your baby is going to come out alive, that's something you can't be hearing on the phone. You've got to be there."

Hannahan was, arriving just before 3 a.m. — about 15 minutes before Jenny delivered a 2-pound 11-ounce boy.

John Joseph Hannahan V is expected to remain in the hospital until mid-October, which, dad hopes, is when the Indians will open play in the World Series.

Stat watch(Random facts edition)

• Jim "Catfish" Hunter led the majors with 30 complete games in 1975. Only six current pitchers have that many in their careers.

• The White Sox's Adam Dunn is last in the majors in hitting at .168 (the Angels' Vernon Wells is next-worst at .200), leaving him well ahead of pace to finish the season with the lowest average for a regular in more than a century. Rob Deer's .179 for Detroit in 1991 is the mark to beat.

• Speaking of "Why Wait Wells," he has walked 15 times this season and is seeing only 3.36 pitches per plate appearance, second-lowest average in the American League.

• Some perspective on Jim Thome's 600 homers: The active player next-closest to that milestone is Atlanta's Chipper Jones, who has 447. Jones, 39, has 11 homers this season, one fewer than Thome.

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