• Kennedy, The Morning After

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2008 · Comments (23)

    Last night was not the best start in Ian Kennedy’s young big league career – as his best was on September 13 of last season – but, it was pretty darn close to being his best. It’s a tough call between last night’s game and his start of September 1, 2007 as to which would be the second best start of his career, to date.

    Sure, Kennedy walked 4 batters last night. But, he’s probably going to be the type of pitcher to walk at least 2 guys every time he starts a game.

    But, there’s something going on with Ian this season. Yesterday, Alex Belth pointed it out when he wrote:

    “Ian Kennedy smirks and smiles a lot for a kid whose been pitching like a bum so far.”

    I was happy to see Alex say that – because I noticed it as well (and thought maybe it was just me.) It’s so different from what I saw of Kennedy last season.

    It’s as if Kennedy has some sort of sense of entitlement about him, at times. (I say “at times” because he’s also appeared to whine like a baby on the mound, once in a while, when it seems like things are not going his way.) It’s not an air of entitlement in a James Spader as “Steff” in Pretty in Pink kind of way. (That would be Mike Mussina.) And, it’s not an air of arrogance in a Richard Tyson as “Buddy Revell” in Three O’Clock High kind of way. (That would be Roger Clemens.) But, there’s a chip on Ian’s shoulder, for sure, this season.

    And, I don’t like it. Then again, if he keeps pitching like he did last night, I’ll probably just have to learn to deal with it.

    Comments on Kennedy, The Morning After

    1. MJ
      May 23rd, 2008 | 9:27 am

      You seem to find something non-verbal, non-baseball related to dislike about everyone. You don’t like Hughes for his blog or because, as you put it, “there’s just something about him.” Now you don’t like Kennedy for having a smile or a smirk. I don’t get it at all. Why do you watch baseball? Do you even enjoy it?

    2. May 23rd, 2008 | 9:34 am

      MJ – you seem to enjoy painting me with a broad brush. Have I ever said anything about Matsui’s body language or expressions? How about Posada? Pettitte? Mo Rivera? Or, are they outside the superset of “everyone”?

    3. ken
      May 23rd, 2008 | 10:18 am

      I rarely disagree with you but this is one time that I do. Actually, I’m happier to see IPK smiling through his growing pains rather than letting it get to him. Successful professional athletes need that confidence and sometimes it does border on arrogance. It’s better than depression and self-doubt.

    4. Joel
      May 23rd, 2008 | 10:40 am

      I’m not sure about any sense of entitlement, but he does at times seem to have an Igawa-like-woe-is-me mound presence when things get tough.

      The bottom line is he doesn’t have top-end of the rotation stuff. He’s a soft-tosser who right now doesn’t consistently command his off-speed stuff. At this point, I’m hoping he grows up to become Darrell Rasner.

      If we could have pumped him up (i.e., USC, first round draft pick, big minor league numbers, etc…) and convinced Minnesota to take him as the major chip in a Santana deal it would have been a major coup.

    5. TurnTwo
      May 23rd, 2008 | 10:41 am

      I would let him have a couple more starts to build up his value and move him in a package for an upgrade for an everyday 1B who we can control for the next couple years.

    6. baileywalk
      May 23rd, 2008 | 10:52 am

      Sigh. If he brooded on the bench about his struggles, he’s in over his head and he needs to be sent down. He can’t let go of his failure and he needs to clear his head. But if he smiles and laughs with his teammates, then he has a sense of entitlement. Worse, he causes someone to reference “Pretty in Pink” and “Three O’Clock High”!

      I like the sight of players laughing and joking on the bench. Especially when it was Ian, Phil, Cano and Melky — and various other young guys — because they have a lot of pressure on them and it’s good to know they’re having fun. This game is, after all, supposed to be fun.

      What Mussina, Phil and Ian have in common besides being pitchers is that you don’t seem to like them much, Steve, and when you don’t like someone you nitpick everything about them, especially their personalities and body language. Somehow I see you as the guy at the office who dislikes someone and starts to imagine every gesture and motion of his “enemy” is some sign of his bad attitude or ego, when it’s really just paranoia and bitterness on your own part.

      What happened to the days when Ian was someone you rooted for? A bad month in the majors and you abandoned him. You have to have more faith than that.

    7. Joel
      May 23rd, 2008 | 11:04 am

      baileywalk–So Steve doesn’t like Kennedy? Big deal. I couldn’t stand Mussina at one point and the guy was winning 18 games a year for us.

      The personal attack is uncalled for.

    8. May 23rd, 2008 | 11:55 am

      Hey, if I’ve learned anything writing this blog, it’s this: When someone does not agree with me, most of time, they also feel the need to try and insult me when they share their disagreement.

      For some reason, some people think that calling me names, etc., is going to make me respect their opinion more, I guess?

      But, in the end, it just says more about them than me.

    9. baileywalk
      May 23rd, 2008 | 12:00 pm

      Joel, Steve, point out where I personally insulted anyone here. I said Steve obsesses about players’ body language and he does — evidenced by this absurd post.

      I didn’t say Steve COULDN’T dislike Kennedy, Mussina and Hughes — I just pointed out he DOES.

      So stop being so damn sensitive and high and mighty.

    10. cooper
      May 23rd, 2008 | 12:05 pm

      I agree with you Steve on both fronts. The personal attacks are unnecessary. If you don’t agree or don’t lie what Steve writes, go somewhere else.

      What got me wondering about Kennedy’s attitude was the interview where he said he told his wife “I’ll show them..” or something like that when he got sent down. He deserved to be sent down, he was terrible. Almost like he started to believe the press clippings on himself. I’m glad he came back and had a good outing last night, but I think you need to put up solid numbers for some period of time before you second guess a decision that was pretty obvious, no?

    11. ken
      May 23rd, 2008 | 12:12 pm

      TurnTwo: The next 1B, I hope, will be Texiera.

    12. May 23rd, 2008 | 12:31 pm

      ~~~Steve, point out where I personally insulted anyone here.~~~

      baileywalk – did you not(?) post, here, about me:

      ***I see you as the guy at the office who dislikes someone and starts to imagine every gesture and motion of his “enemy” is some sign of his bad attitude or ego, when it’s really just paranoia and bitterness on your own part.***

      That’s not a personal insult?

    13. antone
      May 23rd, 2008 | 12:32 pm

      I don’t know if this is true about Kennedy but when someone is nervous or uncomfortable, they sometimes will smile or laugh to give the impression that they are not nervous or uncomfortable or simply because they don’t know what else to do. It’s possible that this is what is going on with Kennedy.

      And that my friends is your Dr.Phil moment of the day….

    14. May 23rd, 2008 | 12:36 pm

      Agreed cooper. That..

      “I woke up today and told my wife, ‘I just have a feeling I’m going to make these guys look stupid.'”

      quote was a bit much and poorly timed – even if he did back it up.

    15. May 23rd, 2008 | 12:38 pm

      antone – I suffer from that – the nervous laughing thing. And, I’ve gotten burned by it because then people think I don’t take things serious enough. But, with Ian, it’s the smirk…

      and, I’m not sure that’s a nervous thing…when you tie it back to that quote I just mentioned…

    16. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      May 23rd, 2008 | 12:56 pm

      I think there’s a fine line between confidence and unwarranted arrogance, but you should always want to see a pitcher throw with “fear and arrogance” not “fear and more fear” (hello, Kei Igawa).

      As to Kennedy’s performance, hey, good job, or at least good final results – 4 BBs and 8 baserunners in six innings notwithstanding. I remain completely unimpressed with his stuff and cannot imagine anyone who seriously projects him to be higher than an OK number 4 in a rotation.

    17. Rich
      May 23rd, 2008 | 1:30 pm

      We need a far bigger sample size of both IPK’s pitching ability and his demeanor to reach any meaningful conclusions. I don’t think he pitched as well as his stat line would indicate last night, but I am higher on his potential than some of the other posters here (and elsewhere).

    18. Don
      May 23rd, 2008 | 2:21 pm

      The problem with Kennedy is that he has had this up-and-down velocity before, as I posted at RLYW a few days ago.

      He was at 91-92 in 2005 and had a great year, he was at 87-88 in 2006 and was mediocre, and fell to the Yankees. In 2007 he was back to 91-92 and blew through the minor leagues.
      This sesaon, he’s back to 87-88 most times.

    19. baileywalk
      May 23rd, 2008 | 2:56 pm

      That’s not a personal insult?

      No. I said you SEEM (come off as) a guy who reads too much into the body language of people he doesn’t know on a personal level and makes baseless assumptions about them. I was making an analogy — not saying you were bitter and paranoid.

      “The problem with Kennedy is that he has had this up-and-down velocity before, as I posted at RLYW a few days ago.”

      Interesting point, Don. It would be even more extreme this year then, right? Because if you believe the guns (or that the guns have been consistent) he’s vacillated between the 86-88 and 88-92 velocity during the year. Maybe last night was a sign he has found whatever little mechanical twitch he needed to get that extra bite on the fastball.

    20. Rich
      May 23rd, 2008 | 3:36 pm

      Last night was one of the few times I have observed when Gameday had a pitcher’s velocity at one mph slower than the YES gun reading.

    21. bfriley76
      May 23rd, 2008 | 3:48 pm


      Do you consider your original post a personal attack on Kennedy? Because it seems to me that Bailey is doing the exact same thing here with you as you did with Kennedy…making an assumption based on an observation made at a distance. You have no idea what’s actually going on in Kennedy’s head, but you come to the conclusion that because of the brief moments you’re privy to on the ball field, that he has a sense of entitlement. Bailey has no idea is you’re “that guy at the office” but based on your posts here, where you make assumptions about players’ personalities or dedication, he assumes that you might be. Either both are personal attacks, and they’re OK because you opened the door by starting the discussion, or neither are, they’re just partially informed opinions.
      Personally, I’m going to vote for the latter.

    22. May 23rd, 2008 | 4:14 pm

      It’s pretty hard to insult someone when you’re not talking to them. My observations are just that – my opinion expressed into the thin air, here…and I’m not addressing Kennedy, personally – from me to him.

      The comments posted here by baileywalk were directed to me personally – that’s the difference, there, to me.

      In any event, I’m not going to go back and forth on this…it’s a waste of my time.

    23. bfriley76
      May 23rd, 2008 | 5:03 pm

      That’s a flawed definition of “insult” Steve. I could be talking on another Yankee board and say you’re an idiot (I don’t actually think that…I’m just making a point) and even though I’m not talking to you, it’s still an insult.

      Regardless, whether you think its a waste of time to continue this discussion or not is up to you… but it’s something that’s probably going to come up again, since it’s come up in the past.

      I guess the only thing else I’ll say on this is that you should try to remember that criticism doesn’t equal insult, even if it feels like it does.

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