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
Game 97: Yankees (49-47) vs. Reds (51-46) • 07.20.14
1. Brett Gardner LF
2. Derek Jeter SS
3. Jacoby Ellsbury CF
4. Mark Teixeira 1B
5. Brian McCann C
6. Carlos Beltran DH
7. Ichiro Suzuki RF
8. Brian Roberts 2B
9. Kelly Johnson 3B
Hiroki Kuroda RHP
1. Billy Hamilton CF
2. Skip Schumaker 2B
3. Todd Frazier 1B
4. Jay Bruce RF
5. Ryan Ludwick DH
6. Brayan Pena C
7. Chris Heisey LF
8. Zack Cosart SS
9. Ramon Santiago 3B
Johnny Cueto RHP
Umpires: Angel Hernandez HP, Adrian Johnson 1B, Larry Vanover 2B, Paul Nauert 3B
TV/Radio: YES/WFAN 660 AM, 101.9 FM
Weather: Sunny, 77 degrees
Day shift: The Yankees are 19-12 in day games, the third-best record in the AL and No. 5 in the majors.
Heating up: Carlos Beltran is batting .308 with three homers in his last 10 games.
Update, 1:15: Kuroda begins well, strikes out the side in the first, the first two swinging at splitters.
Update, 1:25: Cueto gives up an Ellsbury single and that’s it for the Yankees’ first. The Yankees, by the way, have never swept Cincinnati in a regular-season series, so they are aiming for a first. The all-time series is tied at 7-7.
Update, 1:36: Kuroda gets through a four-batter second unscathed.
Update, 1:43: Ichiro grounds out to end a 1-2-3 second. He’s 0 for his last 17.
Update, 1:54: Ellsbury brings so much defensively, and there he was again, making a sliding catch to help Kuroda strand runners at first and second.
Update, 2:09: Teixeira leaves the bases loaded, takes a fastball at the knees. 0-0 after 3.
Update, 2:18: One-out double by Ludwick and Kuroda leaves him at second.
Update, 2:25: We’re through 4, no score. The Yankees have three hits, the Reds have two.
Update, 2:36: RBI ground-rule double for Schumaker, 1-0 Reds heading for the last of the fifth. Roberts error made it an unearned run. His ninth error ties for team high.
Update, 2:40: The Yankees are giving out replica 1999 World Series rings today, gave one to me. I’m glad my work covering that team is finally appreciated. Actually it’s a little too large and heavy for my liking. But I will keep it along with my Yankees caps and umbrellas and Lou Gehrig bobblehead and whatever else they’ve handed us over the years.
Update, 2:48: Jeter ties it with a single to right. Cueto almost at 100 pitches.
Update, 2:53: RBI single for Ellsbury, 2-1.
Update, 2:57: McCann fans, leaving two in scoring position.
Update, 3:08: Kuroda sets down the Reds 1-2-3 in the sixth. He’s at 89 pitches. Lefty Manny Parra will replace Cueto.
Update, 3:13: Ichiro snaps 0-for-18 slide with a single to center.
Update, 3:24: Bases loaded, two outs after an error by Santiago at third. Parra leaves. Sam LeCure comes on to face Jeter.
Update, 3:29: Jeter bounces into a force, 2-1 after six. Betances warming.
Update, 3:38: Girardi is serious but no overtaxing Kuroda, pulls him with two outs, nobody on in the seventh, 99 pitches.
Update, 3:55: The Yankees’ lack of timely hitting continues. McCann strands Ellsbury (three hits and a walk) with one out, and then Ichiro strands runners at the corners with two outs.
Update, 4:02: Betances serves up the tying homer to Frazier, 2-2 in the eighth.
Update, 4:18: Wheeler singles with one out, but Gardner and Jeter leave him at first. David Robertson comes on for the ninth.
Update, 4:27: Robertson works 1-2-3 ninth. Chapman bringing his very fast fastball out for the last of the ninth.
Update, 4:40: Ellsbury singles for fourth hit, steals second, goes to third on a wild pitch. Teixeira swings through a 101 mph fastball. McCann’s popup to shallow right falls between three Reds. Yankees win 3-2.
Here’s a statement from the Yankees on the Sept. 7 game that will include a pregame ceremony to honor Derek Jeter:
The New York Yankees would like to clarify any misperceptions or inaccuracies contained in a story today (July 20, 2014) in the New York Post. The New York Yankees have not, did not, and will not raise any ticket prices for the game to be played in Yankee Stadium on September 7, or for that matter, any other game to be played at Yankee Stadium this season. The statement that “[t]he team hiked the cheapest tickets on its Web site a stunning 1,250 percent – from $16 to $250 …” is absolutely and categorically untrue.
The story confuses the primary ticket market with the secondary ticket market. That is, tickets that are being sold by fans who already purchased the tickets. There are numerous resale markets including StubHub, Craigslist, Yankees Ticket Exchange, and VividSeats, where fans and brokers post tickets to be resold.
“This next week I’ll get some of the other guys into games here to keep everyone going,” Girardi said. “But you like to try to run the same lineup out there as much as you can.”
Will there come a day when Carlos Beltran will be in the lineup as the right fielder again instead of as the DH? He would need to start throwing again first.
“We’ve talked about that,” Girardi said. “That could probably start happening pretty soon here.”
With Beltran’s bone spur in the right elbow and the struggles and departure of Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki has taken on a larger role in right. This will be the 40-year-old’s 49th start out there. Ichiro is batting. 286 with no homers and 11 RBI in 83 games. He’s 0 for his last 16.
“He’s had a pretty decent year for us,” Girardi said. “He’s played a lot as of late. I know that I have to give him a day off every once in a while to keep him fresh. Even though he won’t say that, I think it’s important that that happens. But he’s been an everyday player for us.”
Michael Pineda has thrown one live batting practice session and Girardi thinks he will do that again.
“And then you might start seeing him, in a sense, throw a couple of innings, three innings, that sort of thing, depending on how that goes,” Girardi said.
“Sometimes we like to do sim games because it’s easier to build them up. It’s more controlled.”
This has been substandard home team this year. After beating the Reds in the first two games of this series, the Yankees are still only 20-23 at home.
“It’s going to take everyone in that clubhouse for us to play better at home,” Girardi said.
Photo by The Associated Press
Jeter staying in play • 07.03.14
Derek Jeter is due for a day off one of these days.
“He’s going to get one here soon,” Joe Girardi said.
The 40-year-old Captain has played in 73 of the 83 games — starting 69 at short — following the injured-ravaged 2013 season that limited him to 17 games with the Yankees. He’s pow batting .271 with two homers and 20 RBI in his final season.
In the homestand-closing 6-3 loss to the Rays Wednesday, he went 0 for 5. But he had been at .338 over his previous 19 games, going 26 for 77 with four doubles, a homer and eight RBI. His on-base percentage had been .381 in that stretch. He stands four hits from 3,400.
It’s doesn’t figure that he will get a break during the All-Star break. Jeter has been leading the AL shortstop voting.
“As long as his body feels good and I feel that he’s moving around, I’m going to keep playing him,” Girardi said. “He’s done a really good job. He had the one little issue early on with the tight quad, but he’s really held up well.”
Jeter is staying optimistic despite the team’s struggles. The Yankees will take a season-high five-game losing streak into their game at Minnesota tonight. They have fallen below .500 at 41-42.
“Can’t change it,” Jeter said. “It’s over with now. It’s done with. We have a lot of games left. Anything that’s happened up until this point, you can forget about it. We need to play better. Talent doesn’t win games. You have to go out there and perform on the field. It doesn’t make a difference what kind of talent we have. We have to find ways to win games.”
ESPN is reporting that Yangervis Solarte is being sent down to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room for Zelous Wheeler.
Photo by The Associated Press
Well, this series didn’t go too well for the Yankees. The last-place Rays have been playing better, but still …
The Yankees sure weren’t expecting to get swept by them. The 6-3 win gave Tampa Bay a season-high five-game winning streak and the Yankees a season-high five-game losing streak.
They are now a losing team for the first time since they were 5-6 on April 11. After nine losses in 11 games, they are 41-42 and 4 1/2 back of the Blue Jays.
“The talent is in that room,” Joe Girardi said. “We just need to play better. It’s a lot of different phases. You can look at almost every phase and say we need to play better. We’ve got to find a way to get it done.”
The run production is the most glaring phase right now. The Yankees had 10 hits. They left nine on base. The RISP count was an RIP count — 1 for 9.
“Obviously offense has been an issue,” hitting coach Kevin Long said. “It’s been an issue all season. We’ve got to turn it around somehow. … It’s not for a lack of effort.”
Long indicated that Carlos Beltran (two singles) and Brian McCann (single, solo homer) appear to be making progress. McCann (seen in the photo above executing his home-run swing) eliminated a toe tap from his mechanics in this game, according to Long. Apparently it helped. McCann was happy to produce.
But as he put it, “When you lose, it’s irrevelent.”
The Yankees also finished a 15-game stretch against the AL East.
“It started off good and ended bad,” Girardi said.
It ended at 6-9.
“I thought you were going to say 2-13,” said Brett Gardner, who tied his career high with his eighth homer and is batting .288 overall after this three-hit game. “We just haven’t played good.”
So it’s on to 11 straight on the road before the All-Star break. It starts Thursday night in Minnesota.
“We’ve got to pick each other up,” Gardner said. “We’ve got to pitch better and we’ve got to hit better and find a way to give our pitchers the lead a lot more often.”
CC Sabathia made his second rehab start Wednesday night, this one at Trenton. The lefty threw 33 of his 55 pitches for strikes in 3 2/3 against Portland. He gave up five runs, three of them earned, five hits and one walk. He hit one batter and struck out two.
Alex Rodriguez is back in the news. Sports Illustrated has an excerpt from a new book claiming MLB gave A-Rod permission to use a PED – testosterone – through a therapeutic use exemption in his MVP season of 2007.
MLB countered with a statement:
“All decisions regarding whether a player shall receive a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) under the Joint Drug Program are made by the Independent Program Administrator (IPA) in consultation with outside medical experts, with no input by either the Office of the Commissioner or the Players Association. The process is confidentially administered by the IPA, and MLB and the MLBPA are not even made aware of which players applied for TUEs.
“The TUE process under the Joint Drug Program is comparable to the process under the World Anti-Doping Code. The standard for receiving a TUE for a medication listed as a performance-enhancing substance is stringent, with only a few such TUEs being issued each year by the IPA. MLB and the MLBPA annually review the TUE process to make sure it meets the most up-to-date standards for the issuance of TUEs.
“As recommended by the Mitchell Report, since 2008 MLB and the MLBPA have publicly issued the IPA’s annual report, which documents how many TUEs were granted for each category of medication. We believe this high level of transparency helps to ensure the proper operation of the TUE process.”
Photo by The Associated Press
Game 83: Yankees (41-41) vs. Rays (37-49) • 07.02.14
1. Brett Gardner LF
2. Derek Jeter SS
3. Brian McCann C
4. Carlos Beltran DH
5. Kelly Johnson 1B
6. Alfonso Soriano RF
7. Ichiro Suzuki CF
8. Brian Roberts 2B
9. Yangervis Solarte 3B
Vidal Nuno LHP
1. Desmond Jennings CF
2. Ben Zobrist DH
3. Brandon Guyer LF
4. Evan Longoria 3B
5. James Loney 1B
6. Logan Forsythe 2B
7. Sean Rodriguez SS
8. Ryan Hanigan C
9. Kevin Kiermaier RF
Jake Odorizzi RHP
Umpires: Paul Schrieber HP, Ted Barrett 1B, Will Little 2B, Alfonso Marquez 3B
Weather: hazy, hot, humid
TV/Radio: YES/WFAN 660 AM, 101.9 FM
The Captain is hitting: Derek Jeter is batting .338 over his last 19 games.
Gardner is getting on base: Brett Gardner has reached safely in 17 straight games, with at least one hit in 14 of them.
Update, 1:15: Nuno gives up a leadoff infield single and that’s it in the first.
Update, 1:22: Gardner ties his career high with his eighth homer to open the first.
Update, 1:37: Nuno has been very effective in the first two innings, a 1-2-3 second with two Ks.
Update, 1:44: The Yankees go quietly in the second.
Update, 1:57: The Rays tie it in the third on a passed ball. Maybe McCann got crossed up.
Update, 2:06: McCann dunks a homer on the short porch, 2-1 in the third. No. 10 for McCann, who called his offensive work “horrible” on Monday night.
Update, 2:18: The Rays tie it 2-2 on a Sean Rodriguez single in the fourth, Rodriguez out stretching, but it’s being reviewed.
Update, 2:19: Rodriguez is still out after a review that lasted 1:22.
Update, 2:36: Soriano singles, Suzuki walks and Gardner delivers a two-out single, 3-2 Yankees after four.
Update, 2:47: The Yankees keep taking the lead and Nuno keeps giving it up. Guyer RBI single, 3-3, but Gardner threw out Zobrist at the plate.
Update, 2:58: Nuno gives up a leadoff single in the sixth and Girardi pulls him. Mediocre outing. Kelley comes on.
Update, 3:03: Rodriguez greets him with a two-run homer to left-center, 5-3 Rays.
Update, 3:16: Lefty Cesar Ramos replaces Odorizzi after Roberts’ two-out single in the sixth.
Update, 3:20: Adam Warren on for the seventh.
Update, 3:34: Warren gives up two singles, but escapes.
Update, 3:40: Third hit for Gardner, leadoff single. Juan Carlos Oviedo on to to pitch.
Update, 3:57: Warren gives up a one-out walk in the eighth. David Huff takes over.
Update, 4:04: Joel Peralta comes on for the last of the eighth.
Update, 4:11: Gardner has three hits; Beltran has two hits; Roberts has two hits; McCann has a homer. The Yankees have 10 hits in all, but three runs. Solarte just stranded Roberts at second, striking out. 5-3 Rays heading for the ninth.
Update, 4:26: Solarte with a terrible throwing error on a possible force at second. Now the bases are loaded with one out.
Update, 4:29: Johnson didn’t handle a bouncer cleanly at first and was left with only stepping on the bag, 6-3.
Update, 4:33: Brad Boxberger will try to close it out.
Update, 4:41: The Yankees lose 6-3, swept by the last-place Rays.
Yankees pregame: Teixeira, Ellsbury hurting • 07.02.14
Mark Teixeira and Jacoby Ellsbury aren’t in the lineup, and it isn’t just a typical day of rest.
Teixeira had his left knee drained after last night’s game. Joe Girardi said he expects him back for tomorrow night’s game in Minnesota.
“He’s been playing with a little fluid on it for a few days,” Girardi said.
Ellsbury isn’t feeling great in general, according to Girardi.
“Ells is just kind of beat up and needs a day off,” Girardi said. “He should be back in there tomorrow, too. He’s a little bit sore all over. So he needs a day. And a guy needs a day, he needs a day.”
The struggling offense loses the .288 bat and the speed of Ellsbury and its leading homer (15) and RBI (41) producer in Teixeira, but the Yankees still have to try to avoid a sweep by the Rays.
“It is what it is and someone else has got to come up with some big hits today,” Girardi said.
Girardi added this about the offense: “There’s no magic formula. Can I go, I don’t know, walk on my hands through the clubhouse? No, I can’t do that. It’s just continue to work and you keep throwing them out there. You try to give the guys that you believe are the most productive consistent at-bats and eventually it’s going to change.”
Waiting on Beltran • 07.02.14
Carlos Beltran has brought something to the Yankees.
“I think he’s a very positive influence,” Joe Girardi said. “I think he has a lot of knowledge to offer as well. I love just listening to him when he talks baseball because he’s done so many things in the game and has been so successful.
”I think he’s still an asset to our club no matter what’s going on.”
If only the 37-year-old switch-hitter also hadn’t brought a bone spur in his elbow that cost him 21 games in May and early June and has him limited to DH duty, and brought a mostly silent bat. At least so far.
The Yankees are still waiting for the Beltran they thought they were getting when they signed him for three years and $45 million in the offseason.
Mr. October II is batting .216 with eight homers and 24 RBI across 56 games. He did have that three-run walk-off homer against the Orioles June 20. But now he’s just 5 for his last 27. Beltran went 0 for 3 with a walk and stranded a runner in scoring position in the fourth and the sixth Tuesday night when the Yankees fell to Tampa Bay 2-1, making them a .500 team at 41-41.
Girardi discounted age as a factor for Beltran as well as .220-hitting Brian McCann, who is just 30.
“I don’t think you forget how to hit in a year,” Girardi said.
Asked for his theory on why the offense really hasn’t clicked consistently so far as a whole, Beltran said: “No idea.”
Here’s my story on what happened in this latest loss. Here’s my story on CC Sabathia taking his next rehab step Wednesday night and the impact he wants to have when he returns. And here’s my feature story on Dellin Betances and his hopes for being an All-Star this month.
Photo by The Associated Press.