Saturday, August 4, 2012

Kuroda Continues To Be Solid

Hiroki Kuroda pitched another good game today for the Yankees, but ended up the tough luck loser.  It was the 4th straight start in which he's allowed 2 runs or fewer, the 7th out of his last 10, and the 14th out of the 22 total starts he's made this season.  After an uneven start to his Yankee career, and some rough outings here and there since, Kuroda has settled nicely into his role in the starting rotation, a role that has become more important with the other problems that have beset the rotation this season.  Here's Kuroda's monthly ERA and FIP splits starting from April:

- ERA: 3.69, 4.25, 1.98, 3.60
- FIP: 4.41, 5.78, 2.43, 3.26

And after today's game, he's sitting at 3.19/3.78/3.76 for the season.  That's exactly the type of production the Yankees have been seeking and missing for years from their #2 starter, and they're finally getting it from Kuroda.  There are still some questions surrounding the rotation as a group, but there should be no more questions about Kuroda's ability to pitch and pitch well in the American League.  With him on board, the top 2 spots in the Yankees rotation are locked down and that's a good thing to know if you're a Yankee fan.

Game 105 Wrap-Up: NYY 6 SEA 3

(Check out that battery.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

Let's make one thing perfectly clear.  Kevin Millwood is not a good starting pitcher.  He's just not, and he hasn't been for quite some time.  The Yankees know this from firsthand experience, having had him in their MiL system for a short time in the recent past, so they should be able to destroy him every time they face him.  And yet that hasn't been the case in the 2 previous times they've faced him this season.  They had another chance last night, and while it wasn't the woodshed beating you might expect, it was certainly a better offensive performance than ones past, almost as good as CC's performance.

Game Notes:

- CC had has fastball working down in the zone and his slider dropping off the face of the earth from the first pitch he threw last night, two things he hasn't found since coming back to the DL.  He worked the first turn through the Seattle lineup perfectly, with 4 strikeouts and only 1 ball leaving the infield.

- He got some run support in the bottom of the 3rd, when an Ichiro/Curtis Granderson single sandwich with a Russell Martin double as the meat made it 2-0.

- Sabathia made his one mistake of the night in the top of the 4th, when he threw a first-pitch changeup to Casper Wells that stayed up and ended up out.

- After that HR, however, Sabathia recovered to strike out 6 of the next 8 batters he faced, all of them swinging and 5 of them on the slider, to keep it at 2-1 through the top of the 6th.

- Eric Chavez continued his awesome season off the bench with a Yankee Stadium Special 2-run HR in the bottom of the 6th to make it 4-1, effectively ending Millwood's night, and that was all Sabathia would need from there.

- Robinson Cano and Raul Ibanez each singled in a run in the 7th, and Sabathia gave up a late garbage time HR in the 9th, but he was absolutely dominant, and the Yankees cruised to the win.

- It's worth noting that last night was the first time in a while that Martin caught Sabathia instead of Stewart.  With the way CC pitched, I'd have to think Joe is going to keep it this way for now.