Monday, August 12, 2013

Kuroda Sparkles in Tight Win

Hiroki Kuroda was the story in this one, as he went eight shutout innings, delivering the Yankees their second straight win and third win in four games. Kuroda himself, won his eleventh game of the year and has lowered his already Cy Young worthy ERA to 2.33, which is good for second best in the American League. The league is not able to catch up with Kuroda, as at age 38 he keeps batters off balance with his off-speed pitches. In his eight brilliant innings of work, Hiroki struck out seven batters and was able to get a key double play to end the eighth inning with runners on the corners and one out with Josh Hamilton at the plate. Kuroda keeps performing his magic and the Yankees are a better team when Kuroda pitches. As a fan I know that the Yankees best chances of winning come when Kuroda is on the mound and he proved me and all other fans right by turning in a performance worthy of being called an ace. With CC Sabathia on the pitching staff, he will always be the official ace but this year Hiroki Kuroda has stolen the show with his 11-7 record, which should be at least three wins higher than it already is. However, Kuroda has an incentive to win the Cy Young voting if he can continue to pitch at this rate. In 2010, Felix Hernandez won the pitching honors with a 13-12 record and a 2.27 ERA. The baseball writers looked past the wins and looked into the numbers that are more meaningful, including ERA, WAR and strikeout totals. Well, in over 150 innings, Kuroda has allowed only twelve homers, twenty-eight walks and his WHIP is sitting at just below 1.05. In addition, his WAR is approaching 5.

The game became dicey in the ninth inning when Girardi mixed and matched to collect the win. Boone Logan promptly allowed a lead-off single before striking out the next batter. Robertson was next in line as Girardi did not intend to use Mariano Rivera after throwing 23 pitches yesterday. Robertson walked Trout, which was probably smart. Following the Trout walk, Josh Hamilton hit a double to score JB Shuck to make the game very interesting. Robertson then intentionally walked Erick Aybat, who has killed the Yankees in his career. Mark Trumbo who has been struggling lately, struck out. The final batter was former Yankee Chris Nelson, who worked the count to 3-2 and whiffed on a fastball high and out of the zone to give Robertson his first save of the season and the Yankees their 60th win of the year.

The offense scratched out two runs today, with the second run coming in very handy. Brett Gardner scored the first run of the game with a single that scored Eduardo Nunez from second base in the third inning. Curtis Granderson then homered in the seventh inning to give the Yankees more breathing room that they would ultimately need to win the game. Garrett Richards pitched a hell of a ballgame, tossing eight innings himself but would walk away as the hard-luck loser.

The Yankees are winning these tight games, which is what they will need to continue doing if they want to get the second wildcard down the stretch. Tomorrow, CC Sabathia will try to ride the Yankees to their third straight win. Sabathia pitched well in his last start against the White Sox but left with a no-decision after Mariano Rivera blew the save. Jason Vargas will pitch for the Angels as they try to take back a game from the Yankees, who are beginning a bit of a hot streak.

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