The Olympics are starting, some guy named Brett Favre landed the starting QB job with the Jets, there is apparently a major golf championship golf going on (I had thought they canceled those when Tiger’s out), but the eyes of the sporting world are all focused on the return of Ian Kennedy. OK, maybe not, but I bet his parents and SoCal high school buddies will tune in.
Kennedy makes his first start as a Yankee since going 0-3 in 9 games in April and May with a 7.41 ERA and an average IP/start of barely over 4.0. Over that period he walked 25 hitters in just over 37 innings so it’s safe to say that the main thing he worked on in the minors was being aggressive and staying around the strikezone. Just last week it was reported that the Yankees were not ready to promote Kennedy despite his recent success in AAA-ball because his breaking stuff did not appear sharp enough. Joba got hurt and suddenly Kennedy’s stuff is sharp enough – or so they hope. This and any remaining starts are important for Kennedy, who needs to demonstrate what he has before the Yankee brass goes into the off-season thinking about their pitching options for the future. He gets to start demonstrating against the only team in the majors to have more than 70 wins.
Kennedy’s effort may be helped by a resurgent Derek Jeter. The captain is batting .370 in the month of August and seems comfortable at the plate for the first time in a long time. Sadly, A-Rod is balancing him out by batting .120 over the same stretch, including 0 for his last 14. But Angels Stadium has always been kind to A-Rod so the change of scenery may do him some good. And hopefully the same holds true for Melky Cabrera, who managed to get on base once in his last 14 plate appearance by being hit by a pitch and is coming off a 4-game rest that Joe Girardi insists had "nothing to do with performance". Right.
To share in the spirit of tonight’s Olympic opening ceremonies, the Yankees and Angels will be inhaling smog from both LA and Beijing tonight. Wear your masks and comment away…