Royals’ Kennedy to start after birth of fifth child (first boy)

Ian Kennedy is coming off a loss, but one in which he showed considerable improvement.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO — Six years, four months, five children, one boy.

It almost sounds like an official scorer or broadcaster reciting a pitching line, but those figures simply illustrate the particulars for Kansas City Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy, his wife, Allison, and their growing young family.

“There’s a lot going on there,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.

The Kennedys welcomed their fifth child and first son, Isaac Patrick, on Friday, and the boy’s father wasted no time in imparting a lesson on commitment.

Ian Kennedy is scheduled to start for the Royals in Sunday’s series finale against the host Chicago White Sox. He traveled from Kansas City to Chicago on Saturday, Yost said.

Kennedy (4-12, 5.39 ERA) returned to the rotation Tuesday after missing his previous start with fatigue in his throwing shoulder. He entered the sixth inning with a shutout before the Toronto Blue Jays’ Darwin Barney smacked a two-run home run on an 0-2 changeup with none out.

Although Kennedy took the loss for the Royals, Yost still expressed optimism in his five-plus innings of three-hit, two-run, two-strikeout ball. It was Kennedy’s first start without a walk all season.

“He threw very well,” Yost said. “You know, he had rotator cuff fatigue and it dropped his arm slot. We skipped him one start, it was 11 days, and it got everything back on track. And now he’s been on top of his arm slot, and everything’s been good.”

Kennedy, who is 2-2 with a 4.63 ERA in eight career starts against the White Sox, will look to keep the Royals afloat in a muddled American League wild-card race. Kansas City (76-78) rebounded from Friday’s frustrating loss in the series opener with an 8-2 victory against Chicago (62-92) on Saturday.

The Royals stand 4 1/2 games back of American League Central rival Minnesota for the second wild-card spot with eight games to play, but also are battling Los Angeles and Texas, among other teams in a jumbled race.

White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (2-3, 2.58 ERA) will make his second career start against the Royals. Giolito took a no-decision in a Sept. 13 start at Kansas City, spacing one run, four hits, three walks and three strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.

The Royals are no strangers to in-season births in players’ families. In August 2016, left-handed reliever Mike Minor was in Sacramento on a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha when his wife prepared to give birth to the couple’s second child.

Minor remembers a whirlwind stretch surrounding the joyous news in his native Tennessee.

“My wife went into labor and then they contacted us, contacted the team, they did everything to get me the first flight home, and I went right to the hospital. … I only took maybe a day or two, and then I was back.”

Several teammates texted Kennedy on Friday to offer well wishes.

“A lot of guys reached out and just made sure everything went OK,” reliever Brandon Maurer said.