If you blinked, you probably missed one of the best seasons for a starting pitcher in Rockies history.
For the members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America who voted on the National League Cy Young Award in 2004, they blinked, too.
Ignoring several important factors and simply adopting Wins Above Replacement as the measure for excellence, Joe Kennedy should have been in the discussion for pitching’s highest award.
When considering Roger Clemens won the Cy Young Award in the Senior Circuit that season with a bWAR of 5.4, Kennedy (5.6 bWAR) is the only Colorado pitcher who had a higher bWAR than the player who took top honors.
In addition, nine pitchers garnered an NL CYA vote, including three starting pitchers with a bWAR less than Kennedy, it may come as a surprise that the 25-year-old left-hander didn’t get any support from any writer.
Acquired in the offseason from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in a three-team deal for reliever Justin Speier, the California native was far better than anyone could have imagined.
Kennedy was balanced throughout the entire season, pitching to a 3.73 earned run average on the road and an even better one at Coors Field (3.59).
Against the Montréal Expos on this day in 2004, Kennedy cruised through six scoreless innings before a quartet of relievers continued the trend to combine on the five-hit shutout.
The following season would be a much different story and Kennedy would eventually be dealt with Jay Witasik to the Oakland Athletics for Eric Byrnes and Omar Quintanilla less than four months after quietly putting together the fifth-greatest season for a Rockies pitcher, according to bWAR.
On November 23, 2007, Kennedy tragically passed at the age of 28 due to hypertensive heart disease and myxoid valvular disease.
More Pitchers Who Pitch
Reigning National League Silver Slugger German Márquez began a torrid month at the plate with a two-RBI single against Zack Grienke in 2019. El Bateador de Plata would bat .500 (6-for-12) with nine RBI in May, the most by a pitcher in any month since August 1973, and become the second pitcher in franchise history following Brian Bohanon (Aug. 11-27) with a four-game RBI streak (May 5-26).
Chad Bettis throws seven strong innings against the New York Mets on this day in 2018, and the duo of Adam Ottavino and Wade Davis completed the combined shutout during Colorado’s 2-0 victory.
In Jamie Moyer’s penultimate start at Coors Field in 2012, Michael Cuddyer tallied a grand slam in Colorado’s 13-9 loss to Atlanta; later in the month (5/30), Cuddyer would chow down on another grand salami against the Houston Astros.
Hitters Do Stuff, Too
The Rockies sent 17 hitters to the plate during a 13-run fifth inning at AT&T Park in 2016, the most runs scored in one inning. In the process, five players scored twice in the inning, the defense made two errors to extend the inning, and Giants’ reliever Vin Mazzaro gave up nine runs while retiring just one batter.
The Rockies became only the third team in 1900s to score a run in every inning during a 13-6 win over the Chicago Cubs in 1999 at Wrigley, and the first in 35 years.
Walt Weiss managed to become the fifth player in franchise history to steal home on this date in 1996. During the 7th inning against the Florida Marlins, Weiss ties the game at 2-2 with his swipe against reliever Pat Rapp and Gold Glove catcher Charles Johnson during Colorado’s 5-4 win.
On This Day In Baseball History
In 1904, Denton True Young – better known as Cy – tossed the first perfect game of the modern era. The Boston American pitcher systematically shuts down the Philadelphia Athletics during the 3-0 win at the Huntington Avenue Grounds in Massachusetts.