Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hiro Comes Up Heroic

And heroic he was indeed, delivering seven innings of scoreless ball against the always dangerous Texas Rangers. Kuroda passed through a couple road blocks along the way but in the end came out victorious as he earned his tenth win of the season against only six losses. With the seven scoreless innings, his ERA lowers from 2.65 to an even more impressive 2.51. If the Yankees feel like they are out of the race, Kuroda would be a great chip to trade to an interested team and the Yankees could fetch a high prospect for the Japanese right hander who will probably end up pitching in Japan next year anyway. The leverage that Kuroda has provided the Yankees with this year has been unbelievable and without two blown saves by Mariano Rivera he would be at twelve wins, easily making the All-Star team which he was snubbed from. Kuroda is very much in the Cy Young conversation solely because of his ERA. As King Felix proved in 2010, you don't have to have a high win total to win the Cy Young award for the league. If Kuroda can perform as he has in July, in a month where his ERA was until 1 run, he has a shot to win the award. The National League Cy Young front-runners are clearly Matt Harvey and Clayton Kershaw but the American League is wide open. King Felix is thought to be the favorite but he has not run away with the honor. Kuroda has a chance to overcome Hernandez in the voting if he can pitch the Yankees into a playoff run. A starting pitcher's presence isn't felt too much down the stretch but as CC Sabathia did with the Brewers in 2008, Kuroda could fetch a team MVP award in the 2013 season.

The offensive and defensive player of the game today was catcher Austin Romine, who threw out a base-stealer in the sixth inning rather easily in Ian Kinsler. Romine also went 3-4 at the plate with a double and a run scored. The backup catcher is really beginning to come into his own after recent success at the plate and behind it, too. Brent Lillibridge again came up with the big hit to put the Yankees on the board with a double in the sixth following Romine's double. The Yankees would tack on another run on an RBI groundout by Eduardo Nunez in the seventh inning. Derek Holland was the hard luck loser in this one, but he gets a taste of his own medicine after shutting the Yankees out in Yankee Stadium to leave Phil Hughes the loser who also pitched a great game in the Bronx roughly a month ago.

The Yankees schedule doesn't get any easier from here as they go home for three games against the Rays. Luckily for the Yankees they will not face David Price but get another tough customer in Chris Archer who is 5-3 with an ERA under 3 in his rookie campaign. CC Sabathia will try to notch his tenth win of the season while also trying to lower his ERA which stands at an inflated 4.37. Sabathia is in a transitioning phase in his career and I expect the 2013 season to be just a blip in his Hall of Fame worthy pitching career.

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