Triumphant Return For Ian Kennedy

From the NY Post:

Ian Kennedy’s 20 friends and family members could scarcely stand to watch while the New York reliever’s first appearance in over a year went from an inspiration to a budding nightmare.

Thanks to a bases-loaded fly ball, Kennedy and the Yankees could enjoy a much-needed series victory that sent them into a big weekend series with plenty of momentum…..

In his first major league appearance since surgery to remove an aneurysm below his right biceps, Kennedy walked two batters and hit another in the eighth before escaping on Erick Aybar’s fly. His misadventures and ultimate redemption were the wildest portion of six New York pitchers’ efforts to hold down Los Angeles’ offense.

“Just to be pitching is an accomplishment,” said Kennedy, a Long Beach, Calif., native and former USC star. “And then to be pitching here, and in a big situation, there are no words to describe it. It got a little crazy, but I was glad it worked out barely. These are big, important wins for us.”

I have always been a big Kennedy fan, and will surely draw some ire from some of our regulars by reiterating my belief that he can be a successful pitcher in the AL East. The problem with Kennedy, in my estimation, is not a matter of stuff, control, or command. He has enough of all three to put up the sort of minor league numbers reserved for prospects of the Chamberlain/Hughes ilk. As we say yesterday, he can get his fastball in the 90-93 range, and has a variety of breaking pitches plus a changeup that can keep hitters off balance.

Rather, his issue was one of confidence. He desperately feared throwing the ball over the plate, and found himself consistently behind in counts. Any pitcher that falls behind consistently is likely to get smacked around. Yesterday seemed different. Kennedy threw a large number of fastballs in the zone, was not afraid to come inside, and seemed to miss by just a little in loading the bases. The baserunners were a product of rust and overexcitement rather than fear, which is a major step for Ian. Hopefully he continues to build upon that moderate success and contributes to the major league Yankees in 2010.

0 thoughts on “Triumphant Return For Ian Kennedy

  1. It really is quite a story that Kennedy is back in the majors already. I was happy Girardi left him in there to try for the last out, that’s definitely something that can build confidence.

    I hope Kennedy gets into some more games this season, it should be a treat to watch him pitch if he is averaging 92 with his fastball.

    • The other Chris H

      HE was even hitting 94 once or twice, now that is all because he was in the pen but maybe that is where he should stay…

  2. EddieA

    Maybe Ian could be that eighth inning guy next season and be successful, just like hughes and joba have been.

    • The other Chris H

      I’m not sure if I would trust him in that role just because he doesn’t have an overpowering fastball even in the pen, Joba in the pen was throwing 98, Hughes 95 Kennedy was at 92 for the most part, it’s something to try out but it won’t be as easy as it was for Joba and Hughes.

  3. StandingO'Neill

    Kennedy belong ins the bullpen as we saw yesterday. He can’t cut it as a starter!

    • The other Chris H

      I have said this for a while, glad someone agrees!

      • Moshe Mandel

        I hate to tell you this, Chris, but knowing Standing Oneill, Im pretty sure he was being sarcastic.

        • The other Chris H

          More than fine with me Mo I would rather someone disagree with me, how else can I argue?

          OK lets start it, how does allowing the bases to be loaded and only getting out of it by the skin of your teeth prove he can start?? HE was throwing harder and still couldn’t get away with missing his location, if he does that throwing 89-91 he will be smoked going through the line up 3-4 times. I don’t see this kid as a starter and I don’t know loading the bases and barley getting out with better stuff than you would have as a starter makes you one.

          • JGS

            how does it prove he can relieve? if anything, that’s even worse–he would be Jose Veras with a weaker fastball but better breaking pitches

            it doesn’t prove anything except that hopefully it will be a springboard back into the majors for him

          • The other Chris H

            How is he Jose Veras? Veras had no control because he had no control, Kennedy had no control because he was rusty…

            If he can’t relieve he can’t start so what are you saying? He isn’t an MLB player? Because I disagree with that he is talented enough to play in this league.

          • The other Chris H

            Are you trying to say he should be starting because he didn’t have good control? That makes no sense!! Failed starters relieve, if you can’t relieve you can’t start, so if he doesn’t have the ability to relieve than he can’t play in the MLB. What do you want Veras in the starting rotation? What you are saying doesn’t make sense.

    • The other Chris H

      StandingO’Neill explain to me how yesterday proves he is a starter? Please I would love to hear it…

      • Moshe Mandel

        Yesterday proved nothing except that he could throw an inning without giving up a run, and that he is healthy. That being said, I think he has starter stuff, and that his issue is with having confidence in his stuff.

        • The other Chris H

          I’m not saying yesterday proves he can’t start I’m just saying yesterday didn’t prove he can be anything other than healthy as you said. I was simply saying that if O’Neill was being sarcastic and saying yesterday proves he is a starter I disagree.

          I just have never seen him as a starter, he relies way to much on his accuracy and I don’t think he can hit the target enough times going through a line up 3-4 times to be a good starter, he belongs in the pen in an Aceves long man type role IMO.

          Could he be clay buchholz next year? Maybe but I don’t think it’s likely, I hope he does I just don’t see a starter in him.

          • StandingO'Neill

            Hmmm I’m late to the party here now, but as Moshe said I was being sarcastic. I just find it funny that Yankee fans want to turn all of our young pitching prospects into relievers, yet then when Mitre has to start or Burnett is struggling they have the gall to say “why don’t we have any starting pitchers?!”

            And as Moshe pointed out again, yesterday proves nothing about Kennedy regarding his future as a starter. What it showed me is that a) he’s healthy which is the most important thing b) he can, at least in this one instance, not completely meltdown when the going gets tough.

            I wish he was healthy this year because I truly believe he’d be our 4th starter right now. But that was not meant to be, and 2010 is a big year for Ike, just like it will be a big year for Joba and Phil.

  4. Byron

    It’s hard to be down on a young pitcher that showed some promised when he first came up. However, while I agree he has a decent repertoire of pitches, and could be a solid #3 or #4 starter down the road, how can you say that Ian Kennedy lacks confidence? He’s already made himself known to be Over confident, if anything. He gets behind in counts because he needs to work on his control.

    • The other Chris H

      Since where is it written you can’t criticize a young pitcher or you can’t say a young pitcher might not be a good starter? Every time me or someone else says they don’t think (insert pitcher name) can’t be a starter 7 people have to run in and say “you can’t say that because he’s young”… Young pitchers become old pitchers and a lot of the old pitchers who are in the pen were young pitchers who failed as starter, so why is it against the rules to criticize or be down” on a young pitcher?

      The same never seems to apply to young hitters, I have heard many people rip Austin Jackson and no one has ever run in saying “you can’t be down on him he’s a young hitter”… Just does’t make sense.

    • Moshe Mandel

      Just because he sounds confident to the media does not mean he is pitching with confidence.

      • The other Chris H

        He wasn’t yesterday and that was easy to see but that could just be because he wasn’t confident coming off of his surgery.

    • Byron

      RE Chris H: well, i’m not saying you CAN’T be down on him or any young pitcher. I just think, in general, young pitchers have more time to progress and achieve potential more so than older pitchers. and if you have someone who has the Potential to be a starter, that should be the goal. ultimately, if he ends up in the pen, and contributes positively to the team, so be it.
      also, i have heard people say that you can’t be down on young hitters as well.

      RE moshe mandel; fair enough. how do you evaluate his tendency to try and knick the corners of the plate all the time, though? it seems to me, from the little i’ve seen, that he does not like to go after hitters (throw strikes). it seems like his game plan is always hitting those corners, and he’s just not succeeding at that.

      • The other Chris H

        If you don’t mind me throwing 2 cents on Kennedy before Mo does… I think that he doesn’t tend to go after hitters because he doesn’t want to get to much of the plate knowing he isn’t throwing gas. I think he has a nibble mind set almost like what you have seen with Joba since his decrease in velocity, young pitchers tend to fall into that trap especially when they aren’t blowing people away.

        • Byron

          Totally agree with you there otherChris. Hughes has been showing promise again because he’s going after guys again, but i guess for him it’s because he’s been able to pick up a couple mph. what’s so frustrating with joba is that he has the ability to overpower guys, but right now he just isn’t/cant/won’t (… maybe shouldnt?)

        • Moshe Mandel

          Yup, that’s how I feel- he has the stuff, but got smacked around early last year and started to nibbl. Some young pitchers get hit and keep doing what they are doing and are better for it. Others nibble, a bad habit that needs to be kicked.

  5. IPK has the stuff to be a starter, he also has confidence in himself. One of the problems has been, his confidence in putting his pitches where they should be. Confidence in one self is not the same as confidence in his location.
    I say he can be a starter in the AL East, T.O.Chris (and others) say he can’t…so be it, we disagree, what else is new? That’s what makes it fun, right?

    • The other Chris H

      Way to call me out for no reason…

      I never said he CAN’T be a starter I just said I don’t believe he will ever develop the control to do so and there is a difference. I think he has decent enough stuff to start but location is always going to be the most important thing in his career and I don’t think it will develop enough to start in the AL East at least and never more than a 4 or 5.