Hiroki Kuroda is beginning to cement himself as a true New York Yankees player. Again, Kuroda showed up and used an arsenal of pitches to baffle the hot-hitting Baltimore Orioles on Sunday in Yankee Stadium, earning his second win of the campaign.
Since coming over from the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, Kuroda, who many viewed as a pitcher on the decline when he chose to wear pinstripes in the Bronx, has been anything but for the Yankees.
He didn’t miss a start in 2012, going 16-11, tied for most team victories with Phil Hughes and one ahead of C.C. Sabathia. He threw three complete games, with two of them being shutouts. So after last season, there hasn’t been any question to his toughness and durability.
Kuroda is off to the same type of season so far this year. In only his third start, he went the distance, allowing only five hits in a complete game shutout. He only struck out five, but walked no hitters, keeping the bases clean all night.
In his first start, Kuroda took a line drive off his pitching hand and had to leave the game, and his second start against the Cleveland Indians looked as though he may have had some ill affects from that injury. However, there was no sign of any of that on Sunday.
The timing was perfect for the Yankees to get a solid start from Kuroda. Andy Pettitte has been suffering from back spasms and his next start is uncertain, and Hughes continues to be up and down as he was lit up by Baltimore the night before.