New York Yankees starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda has had a great start to his 2013 season. To this point, the 38-year-old has pitched to a 2.78 ERA, which ranks eighth in the American League of the 51 AL qualifies starters, and has overtaken C.C. Sabathia as the ace of the strong Yankees rotation.
Along with the strong ERA, Kuroda also has seventh best WHIP (walks+hits/innings pitched) of all AL starting pitchers. This combined should put Kuroda in the midst of the AL Cy Young race along with starters like Clay Bucholz, Chris Sale, Max Scherzer and Yu Darvish.
However, so far in 2013, Kuroda’s win/loss ratio is just average at 6-5. Typically, because of the strong and deep Yankee lineups in recent years, if a starter has an ERA at or below three in the Bronx, his record is exceptional. With the depleted lineup in the Bronx in 2013, Kuroda hasn’t gotten the run support in which Yankee starters are accustomed to.
To this point, Kuroda ranks 41st out of the 51 AL starters in run support with just an average of 3.64 runs per start. In comparison, many starters average over five runs of support per game, sometimes even six. Scherzer, for example, despite having a higher ERA, 3.19, than Kuroda, has an impressive 9-0 record.
Come September, we may be looking back at the run support Kuroda received the first half of the season as a reason Kuroda isn’t getting the recognition he deserves nationally and why he isn’t being included in the American League Cy Young conversation.