There are some starts where even a good pitcher simply has nothing. Sometimes that pitcher can grind through the start, and at least give the team innings but sometimes they aren’t so lucky. Today Kuroda was anything but lucky. He didn’t have his usually reliable slider, and his splitter was very spotty.
This resulted in him giving up 8 runs (6 earned, 10 hits) and only pitching 4.2 innings. This type of start usually kills a team’s bullpen, but Bruce Billings is on the roster for games like today. In a weird way Billings did his job. Sure he gave up 4 runs, and a couple inherited runs, but he’s only on the team to save the pen. He did that, so I’m not too upset with him.
Girardi also decided to use Shawn Kelley tonight because the former closer hadn’t pitched since April 20th. He ended giving up a run on two hits.
Overall it’s clear that the Yankees stunk today. None of their pitchers look good. However this isn’t a great concern, as Kelley has looked good all year, Kuroda has a good track record, and Billings will be off the team soon enough.
I could see how people would be concerned about Kuroda because he had a bad closing month last season. But I think people need to realize that his FIP was fine during that month, he also has had good starts this season, and he had a 3.54 FIP coming into today’s game.
Kuroda’s struggles truly began in the second inning—he let a couple on in the first, but neither hit was hard. His second inning began with a fluke hit off the glove of Yangervis Solarte, who was kind of playing second because of the shift, the hit came off of the bat of Ian Stewart. Erick Aybar followed then hit a single to center, that sent the running Stewart to third. Hank Conger then scorched a double to right field, which was the first real hard hit of the game. Conger’s double scored a run, and sent Aybar to third.
The second run scored off a bunt by Collin Cowgil, and the third run scored off a groundball out to short. Kuroda then got Trout to groundout for the third out of the game. So three runs scored in the second inning, but it still looked like Kuroda could get a quality start.
That changed in the third as he gave up a two hit to Howie Kendrick, and then Stewart hit a two-run homerun. At this point it was clear that Kuroda couldn’t grind out a good start, unlike his previous start in Tampa he had nothing and couldn’t survive.
He actually had a good fourth inning, but imploded once again in the 5th. He gave up a long bomb to Albert Pujols, followed by an out, a double, a wild pitch, an out, and a sac fly that ended up being an error. At that point Billings came in and the Yankee game was essentially over.
On offense there were very few positive as CJ Wilson looked great. One of the few lone bright spots was that Brett Gardner had two hits. He has been getting on-base, but hasn’t gotten many hits lately. Additionally Jeter walked and singled, Carlos Beltran doubled, Solarte and Mark Teixeira, walked twice and John Ryan Murphy and Brian Roberts both singled.
Yesterday the Yankees crushed Boston and today they were crushed by the Angels these things happen over the course of a 162 game season. It matters how a team responds to such a game. Today the Redsox looked much better versus Toronto, and won 8-1. That’s how a good veteran team rebounds from a blowout. The Yankees were blown out by Tampa last week and seemed to recover just fine the next day. The starter of the final game versus Tampa is also tomorrow’s starter, and it will be a really big test for Vidal Nuno. Fortunately it’s a day game and the Yankees can wash today’s embarrassment away pretty quickly.