The story on this game is all about Ian Kennedy.
This was the first time that I ever saw Kennedy pitch – and, he’s smaller than I thought he would be…at first, he reminded me a little of Matt DeSalvo or Mike Morgan (when he was a Yankee back in 1982) – just in terms of “looks.” Later, after watching Kennedy’s wind-up for seven innings, I thought he reminded me a little bit of Catfish Hunter – just in terms of mechanics.
I love the fact that Kennedy didn’t melt after that 36-pitch second inning. (By the way, how glad are you that it was Charlie Hayes who had to squeeze the last out of the 1996 World Series and not A-Rod?) Sure, there were some nice plays behind Ian today – that one by Cano and Phillips in the fifth on Crawford was just outstanding – but, the kid got the job done here. Kennedy went seven, on 96 pitches, faced 6 batters over the minimum in that span, and allowed only one earned run.
There have been a few guys (in recent years) who have started their big league and Yankees career with starts like this one from Kennedy: Matt DeSalvo (earlier this year on May 7th), El Duque Hernandez (on June 3, 1998), Mark Hutton on July 23, 1993), Sam Militello (on August 9, 1982, and Dave Eiland (on August 3rd, 1988).
So, I’m not ready to say that this start means that Ian Kennedy is going to be a star in the league, and for a long time, etc. But, this start certainly warrants Kennedy getting another one when his turn comes up in the rotation again.
It will be interesting to see how Joe Torre handles this – with the off day on September 6th (which would be Kennedy’s next turn). Do you skip Kennedy? How does Mussina factor into this as well? There’s another off day on September 10th too. And, of course, there’s the Boston series at Fenway from September 14th through 16th. How Torre handles Kennedy, Mussina, and those two off days will determine which Yankees starters throw at Fenway.
Do you treat the off-days just like rain-outs and push people back a day, twice in five day span (from September 6th to the 10th), or, do you start moving the chess pieces to ensure some of the big guns (Pettitte, Wang, and Clemens) throw at Fenway?
It appears, as of now, if Joe just keeps the rotation, it will be Clemens, Wang and Hughes at Fenway. Just looking at the rotation quickly, and trying to play around with the options, it doesn’t appear that you can avoid having Hughes throw one of those games in Fenway. So, I bet that Torre does nothing here and that Kennedy does get another start Friday against the Royals.