Today, the “good” Hiroki was present as he pitched 8 shutout innings while allowing only 4 hits and one walk. In Kuroda’s 4 wins as the number two man in the New York Yankees rotation, he has thrown 30 innings and allowed just three earned runs – an incredible 0.90 ERA. In addition, during those wins the 38 year-old hurler has a microscopic 0.86 WHIP. If Yankees fans could only have this version of Hiroki Kuroda, there would be no question whether he is worth the $10 million contract he signed in January.
Alas, there is a more “sinister” side to the former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher. In his six losses for the Bombers, he has thrown 31 1/3 innings and allowed a whopping 24 runs. That’s a 6.89 ERA for those of you tracking at home. His WHIP in those setbacks is more than twice what it is in his victories (1.83).
Ironically, Kuroda’s strikeout total is higher in his losses (23 K) than his wins (14 K) even though the innings total is virtually the same (31 1/3 in his losses, 30 in his wins).
What can New York Yankees fans conclude from all of this?
Hiroki Kuroda is wildly inconsistent from start to start, and has been less than dependable as the number two man in the rotation. While the season is still in the early stages, he needs to prove to New York Yankees fans and the organization that he is worth the millions of dollars he is being paid. If his wild fluctuations continue, the team will have no choice but to move him down in the starting order, and that quite possibly will mean few if any post-season starts, should the team get there.
For now we can revel in once again finding the brilliant side to Kuroda. Today’s performance was spectacular. Now we just need him to do it again – sooner rather than later.