Mets-Padres Preview

The San Diego Padres were counting on a change of scenery

benefiting Ian Kennedy when they acquired him at the trade

deadline, and he has yet to disappoint.

His history against the New York Mets suggests that run could

continue.

Kennedy looks to remain unbeaten against the Mets as he takes

the mound Friday night at Petco Park.

Padres general manager Josh Byrnes held the same title in

Arizona when he acquired Kennedy from the New York Yankees in

December 2009. The right-hander went 21-4 in 2011 and was a 15-game

winner in 2012 before struggling this season.

Byrnes, though, again traded for Kennedy (4-8, 4.97 ERA) this

year hoping he could overcome his issues.

Kennedy continued his solid stretch Sunday, giving up two runs

and three hits in eight innings before San Diego beat Cincinnati

3-2 in 13 innings. He’s 1-2 with a 3.34 ERA over his last five

starts.

The right-hander has had a tough season overall, but he’s been

good in two starts for the Padres (54-67) since the trade.

“He was excellent (Sunday),” pitching coach Darren Balsley told

the team’s official website. “It’s not fixing things or changing

them, but it’s more getting them back to normal.”

Kennedy is used to beating the Mets, as he’s 4-0 with a 3.45 ERA

in five career starts against them. His winning streak versus New

York was snapped despite a solid performance July 4, when he

allowed two runs and struck out eight in seven innings of the

Diamondbacks’ 5-4, 15-inning win.

Ike Davis is 3 for 7 lifetime off Kennedy with each hit a solo

homer, though he went hitless Thursday as the Mets (55-64) beat the

Padres 4-1.

Marlon Byrd hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth and

John Buck added a solo homer in the ninth for New York, which was

coming off a three-game sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles

Dodgers.

The Mets will look to take the second of this four-game set as

Jonathon Niese takes the mound Friday.

Niese (4-6, 4.45) returned from a partially torn left rotator

cuff Sunday and allowed four runs in six innings of a 9-5 victory

over Arizona. It was his first start since suffering the injury

June 20 against Atlanta.

”It feels like good,” Niese said. ”There’s nothing like

pitching in the big leagues. It’s good to get back out there with

all the guys.”

The left-hander is 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA over his last seven

starts, and manager Terry Collins was pleased with Niese’s

performance in his return.

“You know it’s been awhile since he’s been out there,” Collins

said. “I was very happy with the way he threw.”

Niese has been solid against the Padres ever since allowing a

leadoff single and retiring the next 27 batters in a 3-0 win June

10, 2010. He’s 2-2 with a 2.15 ERA in four career outings against

San Diego after allowing two runs in 6 2-3 innings of an 11-2 win

opening day April 1.

The Padres have dropped seven of nine, getting outscored 52-23

in that stretch. Will Venable extended his hitting streak to a

career-high 12 with a single in the fifth, and Jeff Decker drove in

the only run Thursday with a sacrifice fly in the fourth.

San Diego has scored two runs or fewer seven times while

dropping seven of the last 10 meetings with the Mets.