Hiroki Kuroda once again proved why he is indispensable for the New York Yankees on Monday night as they welcomed the Los Angeles Angels to the Bronx. Kuroda made the high-salary offense of the Angels look off-balance all night while getting his usual low-run support. Kuroda went eight shutout innings while giving up only three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts.
Kuroda is a Cy Young candidate who currently has the second best ERA in the American League and keeps the Yankees in every game that he starts. Tonight was more of the same as the Yankees could only scratch together two runs against the Angels, but Kuroda didn’t let a run cross the plate in the top half of the eight innings he pitched.
It’s almost hard to explain how good Kuroda has been this year; there is nothing flashy about him, he goes out and does his job without the explosiveness of fellow Japanese pitcher, Yu Darvish, but is even more effective than he is without getting 14 strikeouts a night. His quiet demeanor and lack of pizzazz are reasons why he might be overlooked in a wide open Cy Young race in the American League this year, which could also have been a factor in his being snubbed for the All-Star game in July. All of his pitches have movement, which is always a plus, but he puts them together in such perfect harmony, along with great command, that he makes even the best hitters look amateurish. His pending free agency will be one of the Yankees biggest concentrations in the offseason because he is not slowing down and has been the most dependable thing that the Yanks have put on a baseball diamond this year.