We all knew this postseason schedule wasn’t ideal, and it was annoying that the top seeds had to open the division series on the road, but tonight the late addition of a second wild card makes a much more tangible impact on the Yankees roster.
It makes sense that Hiroki Kuroda is starting tonight, but it’s hard to believe he’s doing it on three-days rest.
“We all knew that there were flaws in the system because TV was already set up, and then they added the (second wild-card) team,” Joe Girardi said. “But (in the past) you always have a day off between the series. It’s something that we’ve always done, and I really wish they would have found a way to adjust it.”
Without that off day, the Yankees have to play five days in a row, which makes it impossible to give a four-man rotation normal rest. Girardi said the Yankees considered starting rookie David Phelps in today’s Game 2, but ultimately he said it “wasn’t too hard” to settle on Kuroda on short rest.
“Looking at the rotation, I just figured that it would be my turn,” Kuroda said. “… If that’s going to be beneficial to the team, I’m glad to do it. I don’t know if it is a compliment, but if the team decides that I should pitch that day, I’m grateful for the decision.”
Kuroda reached a new single-season career high in innings pitched this year, and that workload seemed to weigh on him in September, but Kuroda was solid in his final regular-season start and he was awfully good in division series Game 3.
“I’m not too concerned,” he said. “I prepare myself as the next game that I’m going to pitch is my last. I have always taken that approach, so I am just going to do the same.”
Two other things to remember: Kuroda was the Yankees most consistent starter this season — even CC Sabathia has said so — and he was at his best at Yankee Stadium. He’s a good fit for Game 2, he’s just fitting there under unusual circumstances.
“We had talked about that maybe he had shown some fatigue, and we talked to him about it,” Girardi said. “Maybe I don’t expect him to throw as many pitches (today) — we’ll see how he’s doing — but I feel pretty good about sending him out there.”
Associated Press photo