Ian Kennedy, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander

Ian Kennedy with the beard the Yankees would not permit

One of the true surprises, if not shocks, of 2011 is the success of Yankees castoff Ian Kennedy (21-4). His earned-run average is something like 2.88 and he has nearly 200 strikeouts. As the Yankees were developing Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and Joba Chamberlain, the last-named got the early jump. But he underwent Tommy John Surgery this season, so what the future holds for Joba is unknowable. Hughes won eighteen games last season but has barely been a factor this season, with reduced velocity early and now back spasms. He may gain a start tomorrow as the season winds down. Kennedy alone has joined the likes of super-rookie Kershaw and Justin Verlander (a phenomenal 24-5 for the Tigers). Who knows if Kennedy and the Arizona Diamondbacks won’t face the Yankees in a rematch of 2001? It may not be probable, with the competition against both teams so stiff. But can we imagine the panic in Yankeeland if Kennedy shows his new form against his former club in the World Series?

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About rightoffthebatbook

Co-author of the book, "Right Off the Bat: Baseball, Cricket, Literature, and Life"
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