Hiroki Kuroda proved once again today why he is the ace of the New York Yankees’ pitching staff. The Yankees faced the Texas Rangers in the final game of a four-game set after losing two of the first three games, and the right-hander delivered as only an ace can.
Kuroda pitched seven scoreless innings, giving up six hits, all singles, while striking out three and walking only one. He got into a little trouble in the bottom of the sixth with a man on first and third with two outs. Manager Joe Girardi made a coaching visit to the mound to see how Kuroda felt and apparently he liked what he heard.
He went back to the dugout, and Kuroda proceeded to get the final out of the inning and eliminate the threat.
The Yankees desperately needed this win after losing four of their first six games since the All-Star break. The Yanks only scored two runs today, typical with the offense that they’ve put on the field this year, but that’s all the team needed with the bullpen shutting out the Rangers in the last two innings.
Being an ace is to be a stopper, and that is exactly what Kuroda did today in a pivotal game before the Yankees return home to face a stretch of teams over .500. That Japanese veteran did not make the All-Star team is unforgivable, but Kuroda doesn’t have the ego that most big-time pitchers have.
Since not being named an All-Star, Kuroda has started two games, pitching 14 innings and only allowing two runs, resulting in two wins — so it seems like being an All-Star snub has not affected his play on the diamond.