Despite being spotted a 4-0 lead against the Royals, Kenshin Kawakami lasted a career-low two innings Sunday and seemed resigned to the fact that his days in the Braves’ rotation appear to be numbered.
Manager Bobby Cox said after the game that Kawakami would make one more scheduled start before a decision is made on who will move to the bullpen when Jair Jurrjens returns, Kawakami or Kris Medlen.
While Medlen seems only to be picking up momentum as a starter, the Braves have won his last five starts, Kawakami can’t seem to find a way to win. He held at 0-9 Sunday with a 4.78 ERA after throwing only 36 pitches.
“Being a starter, I’m not really doing my job right now, so I’m ready for anything that is coming,” Kawakami said through his interpreter. “The team is playing well so whatever role I’m given I’ll try to do my best.”
A lack of run support and tough pitching match-ups have plagued Kawakami this season, but on Sunday he had neither. He was spotted a four-run lead against former Brave Kyle Davies, he of the 6.15 ERA and seven walks on Sunday.
Despite a perfect first inning, Kawakami gave up six hits and five runs. One run was unearned, but that was because of his own fielding error.
Kawakami threw 25 of his 36 pitches for strikes but they were hittable.
“I was trying to hit the spots and they were still getting hit, which means they’re reading me or I’m not having enough zip to my ball right now,” Kawakami said.
Kawakami lost the only game on this home stand to the Rays’ David Price to become the first starter in Braves franchise history to start a season 0-9. When asked if he was losing confidence after his outing Sunday, Kawakami said: “No, it’s my mechanics. I’m just not getting into a good groove.”