Hiroki Kuroda has 1,700 and one-third regular-season innings behind him with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. And he has 1,243 regular-season innings behind him with the Dodgers and the Yankees.
The right-hander is 39 now. He faded badly last year, going 0-6 with a 6.56 ERA over his final eight starts for the Yankees. He’s intent on a faster finish.
“You won’t know until you do it, until the end,” Kuroda said through an interpreter. “But hopefully I will take last year as a lesson and see how it goes.”
The Yankees have been trying to prevent a repeat. Kuroda has gone past 100 pitches only seven times in 20 starts. Joe Girardi removed him after 99 pitches Sunday when he gave up just an unearned run and three hits in 6 2/3 innings in the 3-2 win over the Reds. He was on eight days’ rest thanks to the All-Star break.
“I think we’ve kind of taken that initiative in the first half,” Girardi said. “We haven’t run him over 100 pitches a whole lot this year. We’ve given him the extra day when he needs the extra day. … So we’ll do what we can. But the other thing is we’re fighting to get in the playoffs and we’re going to have to pitch him.”
Kuroda is 6-6 with a 3.88 ERA. He began the season as the oldest Yankees starter. He’s the only one of the original five not currently residing on the DL.
“It just tells you about his conditioning and how he prepares himself on a daily basis during the offseason,” Girardi said. “He’s done a really good job. And it’s probably partly genetic, too. He’s been blessed.”
Girardi is wary about pushing him too far.
“You can maybe push him a little bit more, but I still think you have to be cautious because it’s kind of like your bullpen,” Girardi said. “If it gets overworked and then all of a sudden they’re not throwing as well, people wonder why. Well, it’s because you overworked. So it’s a fine line that we walk.”
Photo by The Associated Press
The Yankees know they need to be more rude to their guests in the second half. They have an AL-high 37 home games left. In the first half, they were just an 18-23 home team.
“We’re going to have to win at home,” Brian McCann said. “Our team is built for this ballpark. When we start to swing the bats better, we’re going to win more games.”
Now they’re 21-23 after this three-game sweep over the Reds to start a 10-game homestand out of the break.
“To be able to start off this way against a team that’s been playing well, that’s fighting for their division as well, I think it was real important,” Joe Girardi said.
Cincinnati put a bow on the sweep by giving the Yankees a gift run in the last of the ninth — McCann’s popup to shallow right that fell between three Reds and went for a single, scoring Jacoby Ellsbury from third to make it a 3-2 win.
“But I’ll take it, for sure,” McCann said.
“I thought I was under it and I was not,” first baseman Todd Frazier said.
Manager Bryan Price was looking at second baseman Skip Schumaker and right fielder Jay Bruce.
“Certainly I think it was a miscommunication in the sense that I’m sure Jay and Schumaker both thought the other was going to catch it,” Price said.
For all their rotation injuries, the Yankees’ starters are doing OK. They have given up three earned runs or less in each of their last eight games. They are 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA in this stretch.
“Right now, these guys are getting it done for us,” Girardi said.
The only original starter left, Hiroki Kuroda, sure did in this start, allowing one unearned run and three hits in 6 2/3.
“He was awesome — again,” McCann said.
Dellin Betances wasn’t awesome for a change, surrendering the tying homer to Frazier in the eighth.
“I think we were all a little bit shocked when it happened,” Girardi said.
Betances said: “It was definitely frustrating, but I had faith that our team would come back.”
Ellsbury went 4 for 4, stole two bases and made a great catch in center.
“He showed all his tools today,” McCann said.
The Yankees finished interleague play at 13-7. Now injury-ravaged Texas comes in for four.
Photo by The Associated Press
The Yankees are short on runs and short on answers.
“If I knew, I would tell you, but I don’t know,” Joe Girardi said after the 2-1 loss to the Rays.
“It’s frustrating,” Brett Gardner said, admitting he’s a bit surprised.
There hasn’t been much in the way of consistency.
Of course, it doesn’t help having to try to break out against David Price.
“He’s one of the best lefties in the game,” Carlos Beltran said.
The Yankees managed four hits off him and none off the bullpen. They went 1 for 9 with eight left on base. Girardi pointed to situational hitting being a problem of late.
“These guys have proven track records,” Girardi said. “These are the guys we have and these are the guys who have to get it done on a nightly basis.”
They are not getting it done on a nightly basis. Maybe a guy will be brought in from another team to help. The Yankees are now a .500 team after 82 games. Their 41-41 record comes with a collective .251 average. They have tied their season highs with four straight losses and four straight losses at home. Overall they have dropped eight of the last 10, but they are still only 3 1/2 back of the Jays.
At least Hiroki Kuroda looked pretty good for the third straight start. This time, he allowed the two runs and nine hits over eight innings. Girardi called it a “great performance.” Kuroda knew he had to be sharp with Price pitching.
“It was going to be a real tight game,” Kuroda said through an interpreter. “I had to make sure I minimized the damage when I was on the mound.”
The Yankees are 1-4 on the homestand with Wednesday’s game to go. Then there are 11 games on the road — at Minnesota, Cleveland and Baltimore — before the All-Star break.
Photo by The Associated Press.
Game 82: Yankees (41-40) vs. Rays (36-49) • 07.01.14
1. Brett Gardner LF
2. Derek Jeter SS
3. Jacoby Ellsbury CF
4. Mark Teixeira 1B
5. Carlos Beltran DH
6. Alfonso Soriano RF
7. Brian Roberts 2B
8. Francisco Cervelli C
9. Yangervis Solarte 3B
Hiroki Kuroda RHP
1. Desmond Jennings CF
2. Ben Zobrist SS
3. Matt Joyce LF
4. Evan Longoria 3B
5. James Loney 1B
6. Logan Forsythe 2B
7. Cole Figueroa DH
8. Jose Molina C
9. Kevin Kiermaier RF
David Price LHP
Umpires: Alfonso Marquez HP, Paul Schrieber 1B, Ted Barrett 2B, Will Little 3B
TV/Radio: YES/WFAN 660 AM, 101.9 FM
Weather: partly cloudy, 85 degrees
Downturn: The Yankees have lost three in a row. Their longest losing streak of the season has been four games, done three times. The team has also dropped seven of its last nine. It is 10-9 in the last 19 games and 12-11 in the last 23.
Wild side: Yankees pitchers have issued eight walks in each of the last two games, the first time that has happened (at least eight walks in consecutive games) since 2009.
Price is right: David Price, who may be available on the trade market before the deadline, is 6-7 with a 3.63 ERA and 144 strikeouts and 14 walks in 124 innings.
Update, 7:20: Good start for Kuroda, gives up a leadoff single to Jennings and that’s it. Cervelli made a nice catch on a foul ball near the Rays’ dugout.
Update, 7:35: Price walks Gardner to start the inning, then gets the next three. The Yankees began the game with a collective .252 average.
Update, 7:43: Kuroda gives up a one-out single and that’s it. He’s coming off two solid starts in a row.
Update, 7:52: The Yankees are still after their first hit after two innings against Price.
Update, 7:58: Kuroda looking sharp so far, 1-2-3 third.
Update, 8:05: The Yankees not looking sharp against Price, another 1-2-3 inning. He has retired nine in a row since the walk to Gardner to open the first. Price has 4 Ks. He came in with five straight double-digit strikeout games, a Tampa Bay record.
Update, 8:15: Forsythe bounces an RBI single through the middle in the fourth, 1-0 Rays.
Update, 8:22: Jeter gets the Yankees’ first hit, double to left-center to open the fourth against Price. Career double No. 534, tying Lou Gehrig for first on the franchise’s all-time list.
Update, 8:27: The Rays botched a rundown after Price caught Ellsbury leaving early from first. Zobrist hit Ellsbury with the throw between first and second, and Jeter scores, 1-1. Ellsbury gets credited with a steal.
Update, 8:38: Kuroda works out of a first-and-third, two-out jam, getting Longoria to pop to second. Heading to the last of the fifth.
Update, 8:50: The Yankees got their third hit, a single by Solarte with two outs, but they also struck out twice in the inning. Price has six Ks.
Update, 8:52: Loney solo shot to the Yankees’ bullpen, 2-1 in the sixth.
Update, 9:17: Jeter gets on second with no outs and the Yankees don’t score.
Update, 9:40: Price four-hitter through seven. I believe he’s at 118 pitches. Kuroda stays in to start the eighth.
Update, 9:52: Kuroda gets out of a second-and-third, one-out problem, has allowed the two runs and nine hits over eight. Price is out, Jake McGee is on.
Update, 10:00: Yankees go down 1-2-3. David Huff on for the ninth.
Update, 10:07: Huff works a perfect inning. Grant Balfour will try to close it out.
Update, 10:25: Yankees leave two on and lose 2-1.
Hiroki Kuroda gave up four runs, three of them earned, and seven hits in the first four innings, then turned in two 1-2-3 innings. He wasn’t great overall, but he wasn’t terrible like in his last start. He was mediocre.
Or as Joe Girardi put it: “He didn’t pitch horribly tonight.”
This 4-2 loss to the Mariners was progress. Girardi called it “a step in the right direction.” But it wasn’t good enough when the other starter was throwing so well.
Kuroda said via an interpreter that his “breaking balls are not working. That is leading me to struggle.”
His record is now 2-3. His ERA fell from 5.28 to 5.14.
“When things are going well, you tend to become more aggressive and just go after the hitters,” Kuroda said. “But when you’re not, you, in a sense, try to do too much with your location and that leads to a bad count, which turns into a bad cycle.”
Roenis Elias was in a good cycle. The 25-year-old lefty from Cuba looked sharp in just his sixth major-league start and first against the Yankees, staring down any sense of pressure.
“Coming into Yankee Stadium or coming off of a boat? The young man is tough,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said.
Elias struck out a career-high 10 and gave up two runs, only one of them earned, six hits and two walks in seven innings.
“I thought he used his fastball and his curveball really effectively,” Girardi said. “Pretty good stuff by the young man.”
Derek Jeter said: “He was better than us today.”
There are several hitters here who really haven’t found their way yet. The Yankees have scored four runs or less in each of the last five games.
“Obviously the consistency of the offense is important for us,” Girardi said. “I believe it’s going to get better as the year goes on. But right now we’re struggling to score runs, and every team goes through that.”
Robinson Cano didn’t let the constant booing get to him in these two games. He had a double and two RBI in this one.
“You have to understand the fans, but it is not going to be a distraction for me,” Cano said.
“Both days felt good because both days we won so it has to feel good,” he added.
The Yankees are 2-3 on this now eight-game homestand. They were swept by the Mariners for the first time since May 2002 when Seattle took all three games in a series at the old Yankee Stadium.
Now the Rays come in for three. Friday night, the pitching matchup is Vidal Nuno and David Price.
Photo by The Associated Press.
Yankees postgame: Kuroda’s inconsistency • 04.25.14
That would be never. This was his worst start in the states as far as runs allowed, although “only” six were earned. He gave up 10 hits in 4 2/3, including two homers.
The 39-year-old righty wore down in the second half last year.
Now he’s 2-2. His ERA rose from 4.07 to 5.28.
“I think he’ll figure it out,” Joe Girardi said. “I think he’ll find his stuff and he’ll get sharp for us. He’s been a little up and down this year.”
Kuroda said through an interpreter: “Overall my command was bad and all my pitches weren’t good.”
He especially cited his sinker and slider.
“Right now, there are certain pitches that are inconsistent,” Kuroda said. “I need to make an adjustment and get them back. The biggest thing is to improve the quality of my breaking ball.”
The Yankees didn’t do much with C.J. Wilson’s pitches. The lefty allowed one run and four hits over six.
“He’s got good stuff and he commands the baseball with a lot of movement,” Girardi said.
The Yankees only managed six hits overall.
“We didn’t pitch well,” Brett Gardner said. “We didn’t hit well.”
Bruce Billings allowed four runs and four hits over four innings in relief, throwing 76 pitches. That could mean a roster move. We’ll see.
“He did his job,” Girardi said. “He did what we needed him to do.”
Girardi brought closer Shawn Kelley on with two outs and nobody on in the ninth. Kelley gave up a run and two hits, throwing eight pitches.
“He hadn’t thrown in a while,” Girardi said.
Vidal Nuno gets the start Saturday. I’ll have more on him in my morning post.
Photo by The Associated Press.
Yankees postgame: Hughes or Huff? • 09.02.13
Phil Hughes had bad luck in this game. The hour and 53 minute rain delay took him out of the game after just four outs and five batters. The Yankees erupted for a season-high eight runs in a single inning, the fourth. That could have been Hughes’ property. Instead the runs belonged to David Huff.
The lefty picked up the ball for Hughes and earned the 9-1 win over the White Sox. He worked 5 2/3, a career high in relief, and allowed one run, five hits and no walks.
Afterward, Joe Girardi was noncommittal about whether there will be a change from Hughes to Huff for Saturday’s game against the Red Sox.
“I haven’t made any decisions about changing the rotation,” Girardi said.
Huff, who has allowed one run in 15 innings over five outings since coming back from Triple-A, is ready for anything.
“When I first got here, Joe was saying, ‘We’re going to be using you.’ I said, ‘OK,’ ” Huff said. “A few innings, whatever he needs, I’ll make sure I’m ready for it.”
Hiroki Kuroda will get the ball Tuesday night. He has appeared to be wearing down, going 1-4 with a 5.12 ERA over his last five starts.
“We need him to pitch well because he has been a staple in our rotation,” Girardi said. “He’s been struggling a little bit. … He got an extra day off. Maybe that will help him get going again.”
Both Cesar Cabral and J.R. Murphy made their major-league debuts, giving the Yankees a franchise-record 52 players used this season. Cabral pitched a scoreless eighth. And Murphy got a pinch-hit infield single batting for Robinson Cano in the eighth.
“I didn’t know who I was hitting for until they announced it, so that was pretty cool,” Murphy said. “After that, I just wanted to have a good at-bat. I was nervous, so I made sure I took the first pitch instead of swinging at it.”
Brett Gardner doubled twice, so six of his last eight hits have been doubles.
Associated Press photo.
Derek Jeter is scheduled to be back playing baseball tomorrow night at around 7:05. For now, he’s a RailRider. The Captain was cleared today to begin his 20-day rehab assignment clock. So he will play at least five innings at shortstop for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against visiting Lehigh Valley.
“That’s really good news,” Joe Girardi said. “That obviously means his ankle feels a lot better. He’s been dying to get out there since spring training and he’s had some setbacks. But this is a really good sign.
“I think he has to feel comfortable playing. He really hasn’t had a whole lot of at-bats. He hasn’t played a whole lot of infield. So (we need to see him) being able to go back-to-back days, back-to-back-to-back days that sort of thing.”
Asked if he would rule out Jeter returning on this final homestand before the break, Girardi said, “I don’t really have any expectations because I haven’t seen him play. If I can see him play in some games … I’d feel a lot better about making that decision.”
Right now, Girardi thinks Eduardo Nunez has a better chance of returning before the break than Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
Robinson Cano has had five different double-play partners starting opposite him, the latest being Luis Cruz. Jeter would provide stability.
“Hopefully everything goes well with him and we will see him pretty soon,” Cano said.
Michael Pineda is supposed to make the final rehab start on his 30-day clock tomorrow with Double-A Trenton and then the Yankees will have to decide where he fits.
“We’ll see how he does tomorrow and make an evaluation,” Girardi said.
Girardi said Zoilo Almonte is just getting a rest today as this long stretch of games continues to the break. Vernon Wells is starting in left.
Hiroki Kuroda said his hip flexor feels OK now. He was cleared to throw a bullpen session today.
Yankees postgame/pregame: Ichiro heating up • 06.19.13
“He’s been playing extremely well for us,” Joe Girardi said after Suzuki lifted his average to .274, having gone 10 for 22 over his last four games. “He has the ability to get really, really hot.”
Suzuki served a soft two-run single into left in the seventh, the decisive hit since it gave the Yankees a 6-2 lead.
“He puts it in the perfect spot,” Lyle Overbay said. “It’s an art.”
So is this the start of an extended hot streak for Suzuki?
“I have no idea,” Suzuki said through his interpreter. “Maybe you can ask a fortune teller or somebody in New York can tell you.”
Hiroki Kuroda allowed two runs and eight hits over 6 2/3 to snap a three-game losing streak, doing it against his old team. He said through his interpreter that he enjoyed catching up with Clayton Kershaw yesterday.
“Once the game started, I didn’t really focus too much on who I was facing,” Kuroda said. “I was trying … to contribute for the win.”
The Yankees got their first look at what all the fuss is about, Yasiel Puig. The L.A. rookie got thrown out trying to stretch one single into a double, but did make it the next time he tried. Mariano Rivera got him looking to end the game.
“He’s an aggressive player,” Girardi said. “He has tools.”
Phil Hughes and Chris Capuano will be the pitching matchup in the second game. Girardi said before the first game that Zoilo Almonte would probably get to start in the night game, but Suzuki is starting in left and Thomas Neal is in right. Vernon Wells is the DH. He went 0 for 4 in the opener, leaving him in a 9-for-84 slide.
“He’ll figure it out,” Girardi said.
Also, this is from our management at LoHud.com for the poster Slanty I. We request you change your username as we have gotten complaints over possible racial connotations in posts. That violates our Terms of Service. If you do not comply, we will take the step of banning you from commenting. Thank you.
Photo by The Associated Press.
Yankees pregame: Kuroda takes the day shift • 06.19.13
Welcome to a long day/night of baseball. Hiroki Kuroda will start for the Yankees in the opener of the doubleheader against the Dodgers and Phil Hughes will take the night shift. Kuroda is 7-2 with a 2.18 ERA in his 12 day starts with the Yankees these two seasons, tied for the top winning percentage in the AL (.778).
“A lot of times when you have a little age on you, you prefer the first game instead of waiting around all day,” Joe Girardi said. “Hughesie seems to like to pitch a little better at night. So it actually works out pretty well.”
Kuroda went 7-12 with a 3.79 ERA in 26 games, including 25 starts, working on the day side for the Dodgers. And now he gets to go against his old team.
“What might help is this situation is a lot of the guys that are playing today weren’t teammates of his,” Girardi said. “They have a lot of new faces there.”
Girardi said he hadn’t spoken to Brian Cashman as yet about the Yankees’ plan for the outfielder they reportedly have acquired from the Astros, Fernando Martinez, the former Mets prospect who got hurt often and didn’t pan out. The Yankees do need outfield depth at Triple-A.
The tentative plan for new call-up Zoilo Almonte is to give the 24-year-old switch-hitting outfielder a start in the second game and probably one against a righty in the coming Tampa Bay series. He was batting .297 with 12 doubles, six homers and 36 RBI with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He was batting .354 in 16 games this month, including 10 for 17 in his last four games. Almonte played all three outfield positions for the RailRiders.
“We really believe this kid is going to hit,” Girardi said. “At times, we really saw it in spring training. He struggled a little bit in spring training. Maybe it was the excitement of trying to make a team. But he has seemed to swing the bat pretty well down there, especially left-handed. He’s a guy that can play either left or right, which is helpful in this situation.”
Photo by The Associated Press.