We’re starting to reach the point where we have to discuss Hiroki Kuroda’s Cy Young Award candidacy, no? I don’t think he should win at the moment, but he probably deserves some top-five consideration. His win over the Red Sox on Sunday was his latest gem in a season full of them, giving the Bombers just their second Yankee Stadium series win over Boston since the start of the 2010 season. Let’s recap…
- 2.96 ERA: The most impressive part of Kuroda’s outing wasn’t the eight innings of one-run ball, it was that he retired Pedro Ciriaco all three times he faced him. I may or may not be serious. Either way, Kuroda was brilliant yet again, with the only blemish on his line being a late-inning solo homer from Adrian Gonzalez. He struck out four, walked zero, and got a dozen ground ball outs compared to just six in the air. Outside of the dinger, the Red Sox didn’t hit much if anything with authority. Hiroki Kuroda, 37-year-old hurler transitioning to the AL East, is the proud owner of a 2.96 ERA with a little more than a month left in the season. Amazing.
- The Derek & Ichiro Variety Hour: The two most veteran of veterans carried the offensive torch on Sunday. Derek Jeter doubled twice — including to leadoff the very first inning — and came around to score both times, then Ichiro Suzuki did him one better by hitting a pair of solo homers off Josh Beckett. Two homers! From Ichiro! File that under “you can’t predict baseball.” That’s it, those two accounted for pretty much all the scoring. Great job, fellas.
- Leftovers: Curtis Granderson doubled in Jeter in the first to continue his resurgence, and it took a wild pitch to get the Cap’n in the second time … Robinson Cano broke an ugly 0-for-16 skid with a single, his first hit since facing J.A. Happ last Sunday … the offense didn’t do much else, a combined 0-for-19 with a walk (Nick Swisher). Casey McGehee managed to go 0-for-4 with a strikeout on just eight pitches. That’s why he doesn’t play much against righties … Rafael Soriano made things ever so slightly interested in the ninth by allowing a leadoff single to Carl Crawford, but a Dustin Pedroia double play ended the threat in short order. Gonzalez struck out to end the game.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. Both the Rays and Orioles won on Sunday, so they remain five and six games back in the loss column, respectively. Boston is 14 games back and the magic number to clinch the AL East crown is down to 37. The Yankees are off to Chicago for three games against the White Sox, starting with Freddy Garcia and Gavin Floyd on Monday.