Saturday, April 20, 2013

Picking Up Where We Left Off

After the completion of play this afternoon in Toronto, the Yankees are now 10-6. So, they blew a late lead and cost Hiroki Kuroda a win, but the result was still favorable. With 10% of the season done, we can now assess how the team is doing and what a nice surprise April has been.

Brian Cashman is spinning his usual mastery, handling the Yankees' voluminous injuries with experienced stopgaps, and thus far the spare parts are humming. Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells, and Lyle Overbay not only have exceeded expectations but provided veteran leadership.

But the best Bronx Bomber thus far is a pitcher: Hiroki Kuroda. And it's not all that shocking considering what he did last year.

CC Sabathia (3-1, 2.57) has been strong, and Andy Pettitte (3-0, 2.01) has been brilliant. But Kuroda (2-1, 2.35) has put together back-to back gems, allowing one run and eight hits in the last 16+ innings. And based on how he ended 2012, that seems to be what we can expect.

After his first 9 starts as a Yankee last year he was still adjusting to a new coast in a new league at 3-6 with a 4.56 ERA. Since then, he's 15-6 with a 2.91 in 28 starts, not including two outstanding playoff starts.

In those 28 starts, Kuroda has allowed two or fewer runs 17 times. He is a stopper, and he's done it with just about as little fanfare as you can get in New York. While Sabathia commands all the money, and Pettitte has the resume, Kuroda is just a Hiro.

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