New York-Baltimore: Ian Kennedy Goes Six Strong, Yanks Beat Birds 2-1

Patrick ReadSenior Writer IMay 22, 2008

May 22, 2008

Rotation wise, Kennedy had a great start against the O's in game three. Kennedy went for six-strong innings, while giving up only one run in the 2-1 Yankees' win over the Baltimore Orioles tonight.

It was a scary start, but Kennedy worked out of trouble with a popping fast ball, and dancing off-speed pitches. He then settled in to work. 

Joe Girardi expressed faith in using Kennedy in the rotation, along with Joba. Judging on this game alone, Hughes and Rasner just might be the seventh-and-eighth-inning bridge to Mo. 

Shelley Duncan cut off a shot down the right field line in the late innings, and blocked it from going all the way to the wall. He then swiftly rifled it into second base, halting Hernandez at first. The same play surely would have been a double with Abreu in right. Abreu has a good stick, but terrible defense. Talk about "killing two birds with one stone."

In keeping with a stronger defense and a better offense, the Yankees would do well to consider replacing Abreu in right field with Hideki Matsui. Matsui would be better defensively than Abreu, and all of the "NY big bats” would get into the game, if Abreu was the DH. Then the Yankees could bring Duncan into right field when with a late-inning lead.

It is a given that miscues in the outfield always result in too many runs being scored, and Shelley showed all of us tonight what a great outfielder can do to stop runs from scoring. O'Neil use to make huge plays, and now Melky does too.

Speaking of miscues in the outfield (Abreu), how ironic is it that the Yankees just won 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth against the Orioles. After Giambi was called out on a suspect strike three, and Girardi got tossed, Matsui scored from second, sliding under an errant throw from the outfield. A wide, "catcher jumping," throw home cost the Orioles the game. 

Abreu made an errant throw to home just two games ago against the O's, costing one run. This was just after not getting to the wall in time (again), which cost the Yankees three runs. It was a bases clearing "miscue," and four runs resulted from the lacking defense in right field.

He had another wide throw home against the Mets last weekend, and two in one game against Kansas City, where he also pulled up on two flyballs. Each opponent scored on Abreu's wide throws to the plate.

Steinbrenner must find it refreshing to see a better defense in right field, as well as a good transitional start for the Yankees. Joba is on a long approach to land in the rotation. 

If Hughes and Rasner go to the 'pen for "lights out time", then who other than Kennedy could start in the rotations fourth, or fifth spot, making for a wall to wall solid Yankee rotation?

There is a question that Kennedy, and The Yankees will have to answer. There just may be a better choice out there, in the ever expanding Yankee Universe.