Sunday, July 1, 2012
The adjustment period has long since ended for Hiroki Kuroda, and Saturday was just another opportunity to take notice.
Inconsistencies plagued the start to Kuroda’s tenure in pinstripes until 104 pitches got the right-hander through eight scoreless innings on May 27 in Oakland. Since then, the first-year Yankee has been worth every bit of the $10 million he will earn, and 46,895 fans at Yankee Stadium on Saturday saw just how effective he can be in a 4-0 win over the White Sox.
“I really think it was just the adjustment of coming over here,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Kuroda’s early-season struggles. “I think sometimes when free agents come over here, they try to hard to validate things. I think he got over that after the first month and realized, ‘You know what? I just have to go out and pitch and do what I do.’ For some guys, it takes a month. Some guys, I’ve seen it take a year. Some guys don’t ever get over it.”
Kuroda clearly has.
The right-hander threw seven stellar innings to earn his fifth win in his past seven starts. He has a 1.65 ERA over that stretch, which includes all of June and his May start in Oakland, and in that span, Kuroda threw fewer than seven innings in a start only once. The right-hander tied a career high with 11 strikeouts against Chicago, bringing his total to 44 in his past 49 innings. He has walked 11 in that stretch.
After all the sound and the fury, the Yankees are pretty much right back where they started when the Chicago series began, going 1-2 while most of their opponents in the AL East also went 1-2. The Yankees really need their #3-5 starters to pick up the slack while the #1-2 starters are out of commission and so far Nova and Kuroda have done exactly that. Hopefully Hughes picks up where they left off.
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