SAN DIEGO -- There's a good reason why the Padres like having Ian Kennedy start games at Petco Park.
One, he's a fly-ball pitcher, which typically bodes well in a big, spacious ballpark. Two, he's had success pitching in San Diego since the Padres acquired him at the Trade Deadline last summer.
Kennedy, who gets the start in Thursday's series finale against the Rockies, is 4-3 with a 3.30 ERA in eight starts with the Padres at Petco Park. He will go against left-hander Franklin Morales, who appeared headed to the bullpen until lefty Brett Anderson suffered a broken finger Saturday, forcing the Rockies to change their plans.
Kennedy allowed four runs in six innings in his last start, a loss to the Tigers at home. He struck out seven and had one walk.
One plus for him in that outing? His changeup was the best it had been in the past three seasons.
"I'm happy to see that come around," he said.
After winning a spot in the rotation during Spring Training, Morales made two starts that were far more gritty than efficient. He allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings of a no-decision at Miami but gave up eight hits and two walks while throwing 90 pitches. His next start, he gave up two second-inning home runs but fought through 6 1/3 innings, surrendering six runs and eight hits while throwing 97 pitches in a loss to the White Sox.
"It's pitch-efficiency," Rockies pitching coach Jim Wright said. "You don't want to throw six or seven pitches to every batter. We need a three-pitch-or-less mentality. That's what we need out of Frankie, as a starter or a reliever."
The Rockies wanted to move Morales to the bullpen as their third left-hander, but Anderson's injury curbed that plan. He did make one reliable appearance.
Even with his high volume of pitches, the Rockies like what he brings.
"Frankie is really tough," Wright said. "He won't give up. He won't give in. He's going to fight you all the way. He's very professional. Nobody works harder than he does to be prepared. I have the confidence in him. But he can make it easier on himself if he can stay within himself and not overthrow. You like that rage, as long as it's a controlled rage."
Rockies: Showing care with Logan
Left-hander Boone Logan has given the Rockies exactly what they needed in his four outings -- five strikeouts, with one hit and one walk, over three innings. But manager Walt Weiss doesn't want to rely too much on Logan too early.
At the end of last season with the Yankees, Logan underwent surgery to shave a bone spur and remove chips from his throwing elbow. The Rockies waited until April 9 to put him in a game for the first time, and they have used him in alternating games since.
In his last outing, Tuesday night's 3-2 victory over the Padres, Logan escaped a bases-loaded jam. He didn't work in Wednesday's 4-2 loss to the Padres.
"In Boone's situation he is coming off a minor procedure in the offseason, started the season a little late," Weiss said. "I've got a heightened sense of awareness with him. So far, so good. He feels great. He's got no issues. It's good for us because he's throwing the ball real well."
Logan, who signed for $16.5 million over three years, said he understands Weiss being careful with him, and he believes the arm will become healthier over time.
"It's still close -- it's still not 100 percent, like we all want to be," Logan said. "I feel like I've been making due with this arm problem thing for a year and a half now. It's nothing new to go out there with a little pain."
Padres: Good news on Kelly
The Padres have certainly taken a hit the past two years in terms of injuries to their pitchers. Could it be the club might actually get some good news soon on a pitcher coming off an injury?
Right-hander Casey Kelly, just more than a year removed from Tommy John surgery, threw two pain-free innings in an extended spring training outing Tuesday in Arizona and told club officials he felt good.
Kelly, who is regarded by MLB.com as the fourth-best prospect in the Padres' system, will have at least one more session in Arizona before the team talks about sending him out on what's expected to be a lengthy Minor League rehabilitation assignment.
Manager Bud Black said there's a chance that in 10 days Kelly might be ready to pitch in an official game somewhere in the farm system.
• The solo home run by Padres outfielder Tommy Medica in the second inning of the 4-2 victory over the Rockies on Wednesday night gave him four homers through his first 28 games with the club. Only four players hit more in their first 28 -- Dave Staton (seven), Benito Santiago (five), Chase Headley (five) and Yasmani Grandal (five).
• Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is 3-for-24 going into the final game of a seven-game road trip. But in the series at San Diego, he has seen hard-hit balls end up going straight at fielders and has been a victim of outstanding defensive plays.
• Padres closer Huston Street has converted 30 of 31 save opportunities since May 14.
• After going 1-for-5 Wednesday night, Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon is batting .389 (7-for-18) on the road trip.