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.