MILWAUKEE -- In J.J. Putz's mind, there is little doubt.
"I don't think we'd be even talking about contending without Ian [Kennedy]," the D-backs closer said.
If Kennedy is to make the All-Star Game, which will be played at Chase Field next week, he has some work to do as the balloting for the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint enters its final 48 hours.
Kennedy is trailing by a narrow margin, Shane Victorino, Andre Ethier, Todd Helton and Michael Morse. More than 22 million votes have been cast.
Now in its 10th year, the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Sunday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell, and it continues until 1 p.m. MST on Thursday, July 7. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
Mobile voting in the U.S. and Canada is open to everyone. In the U.S., to receive the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, simply text message your choice to 89269 (Example: Text "N3" to vote for Kennedy). In Canada, fans should text their choices to 65246. Standard message and data rates may apply.
Kennedy, the D-backs Opening Day starter, is 8-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 18 starts.
Kennedy appeared Tuesday morning on ESPN's First Take program as well as multiple radio shows.
On First Take he was asked to make a case for himself with the tagline "I'm Ian Kennedy and I approved this message" much like they have for political advertisements.
"I've never really even run for class president, so I didn't know how to give a speech," Kennedy said. "I just said hopefully the Arizona fans can go out there and vote and vote as many times as possible to show that even though we're a small market team we can prove we can hang with the big market teams, and hopefully bring an All-Star home to an All-Star Game at Chase Field."
Kennedy is more comfortable making his pitch on the mound, but with his next start scheduled for Friday against the Cardinals in St. Louis, he won't get the chance to do that before the voting ends.
"It is disappointing that I won't get to throw and at least have other fans watch me pitch," Kennedy said. "But hopefully there's enough highlights online that help my case."
The D-backs and Rays have formed a partnership to promote Kennedy in the NL and Ben Zobrist in the American League and have come up with the slogans "Help Zo Go and Vote Ian In."
Putz is hopeful that fans will see in Kennedy the strengths his teammates do.
"I would put Ian up against pretty much any starter in baseball the way he's played this first half," Putz said. "I think if we, the bullpen, would have done our job a little bit better he might have 11 or 12 wins. Hopefully the fans in baseball will realize what he's accomplished in the first half, and do the right thing and vote him in to the All-Star Game."