(I got your left-handed power right here. Courtesy of Getty Images)
It's been an interesting season for Hiroki Kuroda against the Fraud Sawx. He didn't face them until July and actually faced them twice last month. In his most recent outing, he pitched very well (8 IP, 2 ER) and got a no-decision, and in the outing earlier in the month he pitched very poorly and still got the win. That start on July 6th was the last time Kuroda had a "bad" outing, and he's been almost lights out since then (43.2 IP, 7 ER in his last 6 starts). He completely outmatched the potent Texas Ranger lineup on Tuesday, and last night he had the hammer in his hand to drive the last nail into the coffin of the Fraud Sawx's season.
- The Yankees didn't waste any time getting to Josh Beckett. Derek Jeter led off the game with a double to deep center and came around to score on Curtis Granderson's 2-out double to right to make it 1-0 Yanks after 1.
- They manufactured a run in the bottom of the 3rd on a Jeter double, Nick Swisher walk, a really smart double steal that took some pressure off a slumping Robinson Cano and opened the door for Jeter to trot home on a passed ball a few pitches later. It was 2-0 Yanks through 3 and they were working Beckett hard.
- While this was going on offensively, Kuroda was picking up right where he left off against Texas on the mound. He had the slider working, the sinker working, had good command of his fastball, and allowed just 1 hit and 0 runs through the first 4 innings.
- After seemingly pretending to foul off a similar pitch in ugly fashion the pitch before, Ichiro Suzuki squared up a 2-2 fastball that was up in the zone from Beckett and hit it for his 2nd Yankee HR to make it 3-0 Yanks after 4.
- There was no pretending the next time Ichiro came up in the 6th. He got a thigh-high fastball from Beckett and he drove it out into the right field seats for his second consecutive homer on the night.
- There were signs that Kuroda was tiring and starting to lose his command a bit at the end of the 6th, and it became more apparent in the 7th when he threw a bad slider that Adrian Gonzalez hit for a solo HR to make it 4-1. But Kuroda got out of the inning without further damage.
- I guess Hiroki had enough left in the tank, because Joe let him come out for the 8th and he mowed them down. Soriano handled the 9th with ease, striking out Gonzalez on a nasty slider to end the game and the Fraud Sawx season.
- Kuroda: 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, W. Another stellar performance from Hiroki during a stretch where he's had so many of them that you almost expect it. As on Tuesday, Kuroda had his 3 best pitches going and he was constantly ahead in the count all night, forcing the Fraud Sawx to swing at the pitches he wanted them to and generate a lot of weak contact.
- Ichiro: 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. There have been reports confirming the rumors we've always heard about Ichiro putting on bomb shows in BP. Last night, he put one on in a game for the first time in a while.
- Jeter: 3-4, 2 2B, 2 R, 1 SB. The Captain is really starting to do some damage hitting the ball to left field. I don't know if it's something he's doing consciously or just coincidence, but I like it.
- Martin: 0-4, 1 K. You watch some of the outs he makes and you wonder how he ever gets a hit.
- Chavez: 0-4, 2 K, 7 LOB. He was due for a bad night at the plate eventually, so I can't really get on him for one.
Time to get back into action against some actual contenders, huh? The Yanks traveled from The Stadium to Chicago last night to start a 3-game series against the White Sox tonight. They're fighting for the division lead with Detroit, so every game matters for them right now. Freddy Garcia and Gavin Floyd will get it started tonight.