Kuroda leads Yankees to 2-0 win over Rangers

Thursday Night Open Thread
Granderson and Nix play in first rehab game with High-A Tampa

A 3-4 road trip isn’t great, but it could have easily been 2-5 if not for that miraculous comeback off Joe Nathan on Tuesday. The Yankees walked away with a 2-0 win on Thursday and have won three of their last six games. It’s amazing what qualifies as good news these days, huh?

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Ace In America
Ho hum, another seven scoreless innings from Hiroki Kuroda. It’s his sixth start of at least seven scoreless innings this season and 12th since the start of last season. That’s the most in MLB. Felix Hernandez has done it 11 times, Clayton Kershaw ten times, and no one else more than eight times. Kuroda is down to a 0.69 ERA in four July starts with one more to go.

Thursday afternoon’s start was a little laborious at times, particularly in the third and sixth innings. Texas had runners at first and second with one out in both innings, but a strikeout and a ground ball got him out of the first jam before two fly balls did the trick in the sixth. A.J. Pierzynski laced an opposite field line drive right at Vernon Wells to end the sixth inning rally, but it was definitely scary off the bat. Looked ticketed for the gap for a second.

Kuroda held the Rangers to six singles and one walk in the seven innings, the 16th (!) time in his 21 starts he walked no more than one batter. Only 61 of his 100 pitches were strikes and only 11 of 26 batters faced saw a first pitch strike, both below Kuroda’s usual rates. The end result was fantastic and that’s all that matters, but the staff ace had to grind a little bit in this one. Kuroda gave the team exactly what they needed.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Two Runs Are Better Than None
Left-hander Derek Holland threw a 92-pitch complete-game shutout when the faced the Yankees a few weeks ago, and for a while it looked like we were in for a repeat. He cruised through the first five innings on just 50 pitches even though the Yankees had men on base in every inning but the third. After Eduardo Nunez led off the fifth with a ground rule double, Holland needed just seven pitches to retire the next three batters and escape the inning.

The Yankees finally broke through in the sixth, and all it took was an Austin Romine double and a Brent Lillibridge single. You know, the kind of stuff you see everyday. An Ichiro Suzuki sac bunt was sandwiched between the two. New York was up 1-0 after six and it was hang on for dear life time, but the offense was nice enough to tack on an insurance run in the eighth. Nunez beat out a potential double play ball — it was a tough play, far from routine — to extend the inning and allow the run to score.

Despite the win, this was the third time in the four-game series the Yankees scored no more than two runs. Remember, it was hot as hell all week and The Ballpark in Arlington is a great place to hit, yet they still couldn’t take advantage. The Yankees still haven’t hit a homerun in the second half, a span of seven games that matches their longest homer-less stretch since 1990. The last time they went eight straight games without a dinger was 1984, when they went ten straight. Two runs got the job done on Thursday though, and right now that’s all that matters.

Mo and John Wetteland, together again. (Presswire)
Mo and John Wetteland, together again. (Presswire)

Leftovers
Don’t look now, but Romine has swung the bat well of late. He went 3-for-4 with two doubles in this game and is 7-for-21 (.333) with four doubles this month. It’s not much, but it sure is better than what he was doing earlier this year. The Yankees should probably give Romine some more playing time just to see what happens. They owe it to themselves. Sitting Chris Stewart a few games won’t be the end of the world.

David Robertson and Mariano Rivera closed things out for Kuroda with two nearly flawless innings. Nunez booted a tough grounder in the ninth that was ruled a hit. That was the only base-runner the end-game duo allowed. It’s tough to overstate how important Robertson and Rivera are to this team aa presently constructed. They need to preserve every single lead they’re handed.

Robinson Cano doubled to start that eighth inning rally, one of five doubles they hit as a team. It’s the first time the Yankees had at least five extra-base hits in a game since Independence Day and the 12th time overall. They did it 40 times last year. Yikes. Nunez, Lillibridge, and Romine had the other two-baggers.

Ichiro (infield single), Wells (single to left), David Adams (single to left), and Melky Mesa (single to center) had the rest of the team’s hits. Adams certainly would have scored from first on Romine’s two-out double in the seventh had it not hopped over the fence. It was a rocket over the center fielder’s head.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
That might be the most boring graph of the season. Anyway, check out MLB.com for the box score and video highlights. FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN the updated standings.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees are coming home to the Bronx for the first time since the All-Star break. They won’t be there very long though, just three games against the Rays before taking off for the West Coast early next week. CC Sabathia and Jeremy Hellickson is your pitching matchup for Friday night’s opener. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the game live.

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Thursday Night Open Thread
Granderson and Nix play in first rehab game with High-A Tampa
  • Now Batting

    Can’t check right now, but I wonder how many pitchers have won a Cy Young and weren’t voted to the all star game.

    • Oy

      As great as Kuroda has been for the team, he’s not Cy Young potential at this time.

      3.50 FIP 3.71 xFIP
      .251 BABIP 81.9 % LOB%

      Both his K/9 and GB% have decreased from last year. Thus, his sexy ERA is bound to increase.

      There are half a dozen pitchers in the AL that deserve the award more.

      • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting)

        I get the feeling most voters don’t look at FIP, xFIP, BABIP, and LOB%

        His W-L record is a lot more likely to hurt him than any of his peripherals.

        • Oy

          2.51 ERA can overshadow W/L records for voters. As of right now, the only AL pitcher with a lower ERA is Felix, who’s W/L record should be equivalent to Kuroda’s at season’s end. Hell, if Kuroda keeps up the BABIP and FIP magic, he can easily finish ahead of Felix during voting. Which makes me sad and happy at the same time.

          I think the award is Scherzer’s to lose. I don’t see Moore finishing with a better record, but if he does it would be hilarious seeing a pitcher with sub 4 FIP and xFIP finish ahead of Felix. And sad.

      • Now Batting

        While I don’t think peripheral stats mean anything at the end of the year (what happened, happened), I hope Kuroda continues to defy your more than reasonable prediction of an ERA increase in the next 60 games.

        • Oy

          Sure, LOB% and BABIP should not matter, but xFIP, SIERA and FIP should. Kuroda’s SIERA is 3.88.

          • Manny’s BanWagon

            Why should xFIP matter at the end of the year? That’s a predictor of future performance. At the end of the year, it’s a moot point trying to predict future performance for this year.

            • Now Batting

              ^ This. You can use it for evaluating a player the following year, but awards are backwards-looking.

            • Oy

              Shit, did not know that xFIP is used to project HR for next year. You’re right. Thanks for clearing that up.

              Original reply failed, replied o wrong post.

              • JobaWockeeZ

                But it still doesn’t negate the fact that the other advance dmetrics have him significantly worse than what his ERA states.

                The argument about xFIP is a cherry pick. But then again throwing away the advanced metrics that underrate Yankees isn’t new.

            • Tom

              Exactly.

              The award is not for the pitcher who’s most likely to sustain results. I understand adjusting for park, factoring in if the guy plays on an extremely bad or poor defensive team, but you don’t just exclude 40-50% of all events and ask “what should have happened in the past?”

              We don’t adjust hitter stats for opponents defense, shifting, good luck, bad luck. Folks at the end of the year don’t say well based on his batted ball profile he had a .330 xBABIP so we adjust his batting average/OBP/SLG accordingly.

    • DERP

      It has happened 18 times. But like the guy above me said, Kuroda still has a few guys to pass.

      There is even a Sporcle quiz on the subject!

      http://www.sporcle.com/games/c.....-star-game

  • YankeesFan

    What does the organization think of Romine currently? Is it still as an everyday catcher or a backup? He’s shown solid defense and does have 7 doubles in just over 80 ABs. The plate discipline is lagging but he had improved on that last couple of years. No reason not to play him if he can be part of the future.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Am I crazy in thinking he’s looking better lately, or am I just used to him at this point?

      • Shittyshittybangbang

        He’s played better, obviously ( didn’t have much lower to go). I’ve been pleased with his defensive progress. Seems to be coming into his own calling games and throwing well on attempted steals. Question to RAB’ers – what was Girardi thinking with Nuney’s lead-off double, and Adams followed, but bunt not called ? Then had Ichiro bunt in similar situation. Huh ?

      • trr

        No, not crazy ; His approach and demeanor at the plate seem better, more relaxed and confident. Maybe his better play of late will win him more playing time, at least until (if?) Cervelli gets back.
        It sure doesn’t seem like the team wants to add a catcher, so this more productive Romine is certainly welcome

        • nycsportzfan

          I like the fact hes going opposite field at times. Thats always a good sign when a right handed catcher can line doubles down the right field line.

          Nunez has been very impressive also.

  • Eddard

    Hiroki Kuroda is the frontrunner for Cy Young. If the Yankees make the playoffs he should be Cy Young and Girardi Manager of the Year. But neither will finish in the top 3.

    We need Soriano for the Rays series. If Alex can play, let him. If Jete can play, let him. Get these guys in there and see what they can do. They can’t be any worse than what they’ve been trotting out there. If Grandy and Frankie are close behind we’ll have a decent team for the stretch run.

    • Oy

      I can give you 7 AL pitchers who have pitched better than Kuroda this year.

      As for Girardi, sure. Though I think that Ferrell would equally deserve the award, assuming both teams make the play offs.

      • Eddard

        I don’t give a flipping spit. I don’t care about Felix, I don’t care about Bartolo or Darvish. Hiroki is the front runner for Cy Young. If his numbers inflate then he’ll drop down in the race. He’s given no run support and he’s held this team afloat. So has Girardi.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          *considers what a flipping shit looks like*

        • Oy

          I guess that makes Robbie the front runner for MVP too. And Romine for RoY since he’s caught Kuroda and had a few doubles, keeping the team afloat.

        • Manny’s BanWagon

          Bartolo Colon isn’t winning shit this year. He’ll much more likely be on the suspended for PED use list.

          • Oy

            Wouldn’t it make a lot of sense for Bartolo to plea bargain for Braun-esque rest of season suspension? He’s bound to be paid next year if he’s free of suspension by opening day.

            Would suck for Oakland though.

            • Manny’s BanWagon

              If Colon is suspended, I wonder if teams would feel this season was PED fueled and drive down his price.

              I’m sure Melky’s disaster of a season is gonna have people thinking some of these breakout years are an aberration.

              • trr

                mmm-hmmm

          • Oy

            Shit, did not know that xFIP is used to project HR for next year. You’re right. Thanks for clearing that up.

            • Manny’s BanWagon

              No problem. You had a good point about FIP and SIERA. I’m hardly an advanced metric geek. Some of that stuff gets pretty complicated if you don’t have a stats background

            • Rolling Doughnut

              I thought xFIP just calculated how many runs a pitcher SHOULD have given up in a given season, by multiplying his fly ball rate by the league avg. fly ball rater per HR. FIP is the same except it only uses the actual number of HRs given up, not the estimate of how many “should” have been given up. Seems simple enough.

              • Rolling Doughnut

                *how many HRs a pitcher should have given up.

                • Rolling Doughnut

                  *HR per fly ball rate. This blog needs a delete/edit option big time.

        • WhittakerWalt

          So you’re not going to consider any of the facts or statistics, Hiroki’s got your vote.
          And also Girardi, somehow.

  • bring back the bullpen car

    Play Romaine every day!! Stewart CANT HIT PERIOD!! They are equal defenders.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Lettuce pray.

  • bring back the bullpen car

    Romain hit the ball further today then Stewart has hit the entire year.

  • JLC 776

    Great win today. Not a ton of runs (obviously), but a lot of well hit balls – and doubles!!!

    They salvaged the road trip and if they can take 2 of 3 from Tampa, I’ll feel satisfied with this stretch. I’m cautiously looking forward to seeing Soriano again!

  • Now Batting

    The Yankees should just let A-rod play until he’s crawling to first base. He’ll draw interest and can’t be worse than what’s out there now.

  • WhittakerWalt

    Non All-Star Hiroki Kuroda.

    SMH

    • Get Phelps Up

      Chris Tillman had 11 wins though. 11 wins!!

  • Robinson Tilapia

    If you’re going to be in a lot of low-scoring games, you might as well be winning them. Hooray for #HIROK. A great win. I’ll take the split against a direct WC rival.

    Still 3 back of the WC six games away from the deadline. You go ahead and tell these 25 guys they don’t really have a chance and show blow it up.

  • jim p

    Kuroda’s 100th straight errorless game. The NY Times story:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07.....f=baseball

    Has a higher fielding percentage than 18-time Gold Glove Winner Maddux.

  • forensic

    Romine has 7 hits in his last 15 AB’s. Stewart has 7 hits in his last 45 AB’s.

    Romine has 4 doubles in those 7 hits and 15 AB’s. You have to go all the way back to mid-September of last year to get Stewart’s last 4 doubles (about 194 AB’s!).

    Romine should certainly play more for a bit to see how long he can carry a useful bat. It’s pretty clear what Chris Stewart is at this point.

    Of course, we all know Romine won’t play more….

    • Robinson Tilapia

      We Believe in Austin Romine.

  • LarryM Fl

    Great game by Kuroda, I look forward to his starts. I can not say the same for the other guys. My boy Romine has looked excellent behind the plate. He was helped by Kuroda who as Coney indicated was calling his own game. Romine put the signals down and moved on until Kuroda accepted the pitch. Kuoda did not shake off every pitch and frustrate Romine. Much respect for Kuroda. Romine’s bat needs more playing time even if its 50%. His confidence level is up. Girardi you can not waste this bit of good fortune. You may discover our next catcher.

    On another note it was a pleasure to see the ST lineup on Thursday. They played well and won. Coney with another good one” 4 or 5 minimum wage guys on the field.”

    Come on CC, keep the ball rolling. Take two of three from the Rays.