No one seems to have a perfect explanation for it, but Hiroki Kuroda’s season numbers speak for themselves.
Home: 11-6 — 2.72 ERA — 3.61 K/BB — .219 opp. average
Away: 5-5 — 4.23 ERA — 2.87 K/BB — .292 opp. average
“We haven’t seen year after year after year, so it’s hard for me to say (why) being around him just for the first time this year,” Joe Girardi said. “But he seems to do very well in our ballpark. He seems to know how to pitch to our ballpark, and that could have something to do with it. But he’s been very good at home. It’s one of the reasons that we talked about him pitching at home, plus we thought the extra rest would really help him, the couple days, instead of him having to go on his fifth day again. But let’s hope it holds true again tomorrow.”
Extra rest and a favorable environment, and an opponent against whom Kuroda had a 2.92 ERA this season. Those things should be in his favor, helping him erase the memory of his most recent postseason start: Six runs in 1.1 innings during the 2009 NLCS.
“You know, I don’t really feel fatigued,” Kuroda said. “Or I don’t think I can afford to think like that because I always prepare myself for the next game, and that’s what I’m doing right now. So I’m just going to do my best and pitch my best game possible. … I think it’s just a matter of luck that I have great numbers in the stadium here at Yankee Stadium. But I think one of the biggest things is the fans. They really motivate me during the game.”
Associated Press photo