Ian Kennedy First NL Pitcher to Reach 20 Wins

Ian Kennedy became the National League’s first 20 game winner of the season last night.  Kennedy led the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

When the season began, many considered Roy Halladay a favorite for the NL Cy Young award.  Few would have been surprised to hear that Clayton Kershaw would lead the Senior Circuit in strikeouts.  Cliff Lee has been throwing shutouts for seasons, so his National League leading 6 in 2011 shouldn’t have caught anyone off guard.

But if you had asked who would become the NL’s first 20 games winner, I’m guessing few if any would have chosen Kennedy.

Continuing his torrid 2011 campaign last night, Kennedy held the Pirates to 1 hit over 8 shutout innings.  Kennedy retired the first 8 batters he faced before giving up his only hit, a single, to counterpart Jeff Karstens.

Kennedy went on to surrender his only walk of the contest in the top of the 4th inning.  After receiving the free pass, Andrew McCutchen proceeded to steal second base.  It was the only time a Pirates player would make it as far against Kennedy.

Kennedy finished his fantastic outing by sitting down the final 14 Pirates he faced, finishing the game with a season high 12 strikeouts.

I know that many consider pitcher’s win totals to be fairly insignificant compared to advanced statistics, but when you take a look at who’s reached the 20 win plateau lately you’ll see that Kennedy is joining an elite group.

Last year only Halladay, C.C. Sabathia and Adam Wainwright met the mark.  No one surpassed 19 wins in 2009.  Halladay again reached 20 wins in 2008, along with Lee, Brandon Webb and Mike MussinaJosh Beckett was the only pitcher to win 20 games in 2007.

So you can think what you want about wins in general, but Kennedy’s performance this season has certainly been special.

For more on the Diamondbacks, be sure to check out Venom Strikes.

Tags: Adam Wainwright Andrew McCutchen Arizona Diamondbacks Brandon Webb C.C. Sabathia Clayton Kershaw Cliff Lee Ian Kennedy Jeff Karstens Josh Beckett Mike Mussina NL Cy Young NL West Pittsburgh Pirates Roy Halladay

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