Hiroki Kuroda's Jekyll And Hyde Act Is Wearing Thin With The New York Yankees

By Steve Skinner

The 2012 New York Yankees season has been one of inconsistency.  There have been moments where they look like a team ready to contend for another world championship, and there have been moments where they have looked like an aging squad full of players on the down-side of their careers.  Seemingly there has been no in-between.

No one player has been more indicative of the New York Yankees season than 38 year-old starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda.

After last night’s far-from-stellar performance, the right-hander who was signed in January to a one-year $10 million contract now sits with a 3 – 5 record and a 4.50 ERA.

Much like the New York Yankees themselves, Hiroki Kuroda has been brilliant at times, and horrible at others.  Last night’s five inning, seven earned run performance ranks as one of the “others”.

A look at his season reveals just how irratic the former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher has been.

In his three wins, Kuroda has gone 22 innings (an average of 7.3 innings per start), allowed just 3 earned runs (1.22 ERA), and yielded a combined 21 hits and walks (0.955 WHIP).  Those are numbers that most clubs’ aces only dream of having.  Unfortunately, with the veteran pitcher, the New York Yankees have a real-life “Jekyll and Hyde” on their hands, and the “Hyde” version truly rears his ugly head in Kuroda’s losses.

In his five setbacks, the number two starter has stayed in the game for a total of 26 innings (an average of 5.2 innings per start), allowed 21 earned runs (a whopping 7.27 ERA), and given up a combined 48 hits and walks (1.85 WHIP).  These are statistics that make manager Joe Girardi’s binder tremble on the bench.

While there is still plenty of time left to the season, Hiroki Kuroda certainly can level things out.  Pitching last year for the Dodgers, he was a model of consistency.  His ERA never went above 3.86 or below 2.80 after his second start, and that is why the New York Yankees guaranteed him a spot among their starters prior to setting foot in Yankee stadium.  As a member of a rotation laced with pitchers of unknown expectations, he and CC Sabathia were looked at to provide stability in anchoring the first two spots.

Little did the Yankees know they would be opening a version of a Robert Louis Stevenson novel, and now they can only hope to find the anecdote before the ugly “Mister Hyde” destroys their best-laid plans.


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