So that Ian Kennedy start. Pretty impressive, eh?
In case you’re joining us already in progress, Kennedy, the exiled and highly-regarded pitching prospect, came within one out of a seven-inning no-hit, no-walk performance for AAA Scranton this evening. He ended the game throwing seven, allowing no earned runs, one hit — a run-scoring double after a Chris Basak error — no walks and seven strike outs. He threw 61 of 92 pitches for strikes and was about as good as it gets.
With this start, Kennedy thrust himself back into the Bronx picture. No longer can we ignore him every five days, pretending that he isn’t there. In fact, Kennedy’s rehab and subsequent progress at AAA had to, inevitably, lead to this point. While he started out July on a mediocre foot, since landing in Scranton, Kennedy finds himself sporting a 2.73 ERA. He has struck out 19 over 26.1 innings and has a WHIP of 0.99. Remember that number.
Over the next few days and weeks, Kennedy’s name will begin to resurface more frequently in New York. If he pitches well, he will become a replacement option for either Sidney Ponson and his 1.72 WHIP in the Bronx or Darrell Rasner, coming off a nice start but still sporting a 6.42 ERA over 47.2 innings since June 1. Kennedy’s name will also appear in other forms. With this outing tonight, he has re-established himself as one of the biggest trade chips in the Yankee organization. He doesn’t appear to be untouchable as Phil Hughes, Austin Jackson, Mark Melancon and Jesus Montero are, and teams will be drawn to his talent and ability as well as his pedigree.
So what are the Yanks do to? At some point, they’ll have to replace Rasner, Ponson or both. The two just don’t have the numbers or stuff to be what the Yankees need with Chien-Ming Wang out, and Kennedy is now a prime candidate to replace either sooner rather than later. But if the right trade offer comes along, Kennedy could be gone.
Despite his early-season Major League struggles, I’d still like to see the Yankees hold on to Kennedy. Thrity-seven innings do not a career make. But will the brass see it the same way? Only time will tell. One thing, though, is for certain: Ian Patrick Kennedy is back on the radar.