Kuroda pounded again; Blue Jays take rubber game from Yankees

Game 133: Win It For Robbie
Nunez headed for MRI on right knee on Thursday

If the fat lady hasn’t started singing yet, it might be time to get her warmed up. The Yankees were blown out 7-2 by the last place Blue Jays on Wednesday, dropping two of three in the series and four of six on the road trip.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

Hirok Hiroked
Fatigue or regression or whatever can be cruel. Hiroki Kuroda, the usually ultra-reliable and crazy effective Hiroki Kuroda, got smacked around the park for the third consecutive start. Eight of the first dozen batters he faced on Wednesday reached base and six came around to score. There were softly hit singles, well-struck doubles, a monster homer, a two-run strikeout (more on that in a second) … a little bit of everything. The only common thread was Kuroda’s general inability to fool the Blue Jays hitters. They hit him hard.

The end result for Kuroda was seven runs (five earned) on five singles, three doubles, one walk, one homer, and one hit batsman on 99 pitches in five innings. With a) two long men in the bullpen, b) an off-day on Thursday, and c) September call-ups right around the corner, I thought Kuroda should have been out of game after the second inning. He was obviously laboring and I didn’t see the point to sparing the bullpen. Hiroki has clearly run into a wall and this was a good opportunity to give him a bit or a rest. No need to make him throw all those stressful pitches. Alas, Joe Girardi felt differently.

I’ve watched a lot of baseball in my life and I can now say I’ve seen a two-run strikeout. That one wasn’t on the bucket list, believe it or not. Chris Stewart muffed a fastball right down the middle in the first inning, then compounded the problem when he hit the runner with the throw on his way to first. The ball ricocheted into foul territory and two runs scored. Two runs scored after a called strike three. Two*.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

The Yankees had a small chance to get back into the game in the fourth, after Todd Redmond walked the first two batters of the inning. They scored one run on Alex Rodriguez‘s single and another on Mark Reynolds‘ booming double to left, but A-Rod was thrown out at the plate by a mile on the play. Replays confirmed third base coach Robbie Thomson waved Alex in. Maybe don’t send the 38-year-old with two bad hips down five runs? Instead of having runners on second and third with one out, they had a runner on second with two outs. Sucks.

Aside from that fourth inning, the Robinson Cano-less lineup did a whole bunch of nothing. Redmond struck out seven in 5.2 innings and the Yankees were held to five hits and four walks. Reynolds had three of those five hits while Derek Jeter and Rodriguez had one apiece. Brett Gardner drew two of the walks, Curtis Granderson and Alfonso Soriano the others. Only three of the final 19 men they sent to the plate reached base.

Joba Chamberlain (two innings), Shawn Kelley (one out), and Boone Logan (two outs) wrapped things up in relief of Kuroda. I wasn’t paying attention in that eighth inning — did Girardi actually mix and match his relievers with a five-run deficit? Or was Kelley hurt? That would be the icing on the cake.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, go to MLB.com. For some much nerdier stats, go to FanGraphs. For the updated standings, go to ESPN. The Athletics destroyed the Tigers again, so the Yankees are now six games back of the second wildcard spot in the loss column. Cool Standings gives them a 6.2% chance of making the postseason with 29 games to play.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees are off on Thursday and will open a hugely important three-game series against the Orioles in the Bronx on Friday night. That is legitimately the biggest series of the year, at least until the next series after that. CC Sabathia and Miguel Gonzalez will be your pitching matchup for the opener. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the game live.

* !

Game 133: Win It For Robbie
Nunez headed for MRI on right knee on Thursday
  • forensic

    I bet Chris Stewart framed the shit out of the rest of the pitches in the game though, at least the ones that actually got past the batters.

    • Preston

      If they get out of the race they have to start playing Romine everyday right? I’m so sick of looking at Stewart.

      • Tom

        If they get out of the race they have to start playing Romine everyday right? I’m so sick of looking at Stewart.

        In or out of the race Stewart should be the one spelling Romine when he needs a break, not the other way around. I believe Stewart now has a sub .500 OPS since the all star break.

        He could be framing houses for Habitat for Humanity on his off days, and his framing value still cannot possibly support that bat.

  • RobA

    Can’t expect to win with Todd Studmond on the mound.

    Also, ARods response to buddy was funny. I dunno if it’s the way that MLB hugely overplayed their hand, but I’m kind of warming to the douchebag a little.

    I’ll never like him, but for me, he’s inching away from “evil piece of shit” and into “Arod being ARod”, enjoying the same kind of teflon-ness that Manny had, although not to the same extent. AS in “sure, he’s gonna take juice, but hey, that’s just Arod being ARod.”

    IMO, Ryan Braun is far sleazier. I don’t find his lying to the media/MLB all that egregious. Certainly not more then the PED offense. I mean, once he’s made the decided to take juice, of course he’s going to lie when confronted. Do we expect him to gear and then admit it the first time he’s asked? What is inexcusable to me is after he beat the rap, he could have just quietly gone about his business with no punishment. But he had to try to destroy an innocent mans reputation and career. A guy who I assume has a family and will not make in his entire life what Braun will make in a few months. And all this for his own “reputation” which nobody believed anyways. That was far, far worse then anything ARod did, IMO.

    He’s becoming somewhat of a sympathetic figure to me, in the way that MLB seems to be hugely and unfairly singling him out, as well as the media, and also in his unwillingness to bend over to Seligs dictatorship. You just know Selig assumed ARod would accept punishment and really didn’t have a plan B. You could see the panic by MLB once they realized he was gonna fight this thing, and I take pleasure in how the coming battle is gonna expose a lot of Seligs own sleaziness, who I think is the worst of the entire bunch.

    • Kiko Jones

      Amen, brother.

    • And in merrie olde England

      If Selig had said “Here’s a 211 game suspension” then actually produced some kind of evidence it might a have worked out a bit better?

      Clearly being English all I can think of now is:


      • And in merrie olde England

        All I can think of now is that I wish I could embed videos properly.

    • I’m a looser baby so why don’t you kill me?

      ARods scorched earth legal approach is going to be epic to watch.

  • http://www.penuel-law.com/ Cuso

    Hawk: “This season is o-vah!”

  • Preston

    At least Gregory Bird got to 100 walks today

    • forensic

      Can he loan a few to Cano, who hasn’t walked in nearly two weeks and has fallen way off the pace now?

  • trr

    “It’s not dark yet, but its getting there”

    • Pat D

      I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still.

      • Betty Lizard

        Shadows are fallin’ and I’ve been here all day
        It’s too hot to sleep and time is runnin’ away
        Feel like my soul has turned into steel
        I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t heal
        There’s not even room enough to be anywhere
        It’s not dark yet but it’s gettin’ there.

        • trr

          Indeed….thanks Betty

  • Kramerica Industries

    ARod is striking out at a rate just a little bit below that of Adam Dunn or Mark Reynolds right now.

    He’d be on pace for 170 over a 162 game schedule. This is a very bad sign.

    • Kiko Jones

      Isn’t he on pace for 30+ HRs over a 162 game schedule, too? It doesn’t diminish the seriousness of the strikeout rate, but it’s a nice solver lining, no?

    • forensic

      It is a lot, but it’s also still a small sample. A game or two without one (or maybe with just one) and he’s suddenly back down towards his career average, I bet.

      He’s also got the 2nd highest LD% of his career (not counting tonight), only 1% behind his 2000 season. Is that a very good sign that he’s hitting the ball on the screws a lot when he does make contact?

      I’m not saying it means nothing, but I’m not sure we can read too much into less than 100 PA’s after major surgery at his age (though those things are a whole other issue). He’s also never really been considered a ‘contact’ hitter. There’s a reason he’s 5th all-time in strikeouts.

      • Kramerica Industries

        True, but his career high in K’s (didn’t check K rate in his injury seasons) is 139, which isn’t “great”, per se, but it’s not grotesque, either, relative to what you see from some sluggers today.

        I don’t know. Anecdotally, it seems ARod has a really hard time turning on pitches on the inner half/inner third. Hip problems would affect that, go figure, of course. But that doesn’t take away from the actual problem, does it?

        Better than the multi-headed monster of David Luis Reid Youkilis, I guess.

        • OldYanksFan

          ARod is, and has been for a while, a ‘guess’ hitter. So he will always have a fair amount of strikeouts.

          I would say his line of .282 .364 .462 .825 is pretty freakin’ good considering the circumstances.

    • Preston

      25% is not 28% (Dunn’s career) and it certainly isn’t 32% (Reynolds career) and that 25% isn’t even a legitimate number because he only has 88 PA’s, before the 3 Ks tonight his strikeout rate was a perfectly perfectly palatable 22%. Alex is taking walks, showing some power, and although his current BABIP is high it’s not so high as to render his BA terrible if it regresses to the mean. Not that we should be buying his early returns as indicative of what he will be going forward, but those numbers are just as meaningful as his K rate and could flucuate for good or bad just as quickly.

      • Kramerica Industries

        Besides the fact that the SSS is implied and my comment is really inspired by the eye-ball test (and supported in part with the SSS numbers)…

        25% is not 28% (Dunn’s career) and it certainly isn’t 32% (Reynolds career)

        I did specifically say that ARod is “just a little bit below” those levels. And guess what? 25% is just a bit below 28% or 32%.

  • Pat D

    Yea, I think at this point I’ve just about given up hope. They’ve just lost too many games this year that they “shouldn’t” have lost. Just not enough time left and too much ground to make up.

    Yet if they were to finish with, like, 85 wins, I’d consider it a moderately successful season all things considered. Disappointing, sure, but it could have been so much worse.

    • ialien

      actually, it is much worse. take away the 13-3 record vs blue jays & the yanks are 3 games under 500.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        And if you take away the 1-9 record against the Mets, ChiSox, and Padres they’re 15 over. Can’t just discount certain wins and losses because they don’t fit your narrative.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          If you take away all the games they won, they’re the worst team EVER.

        • ialien

          mike you are citing record vs 3 teams! My point was that a record vs single team is the tipping point between under & over 500, which is quite valid.

          the narrative, in any case, is clear. the team is average. with or without the jays games.

          • Pat D

            Those teams have a collective .441 winning percentage, which is worse than Toronto.

        • Pat D

          Yep, those were the games I was thinking of.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I’ll give up hope when they’re eliminated. That doesn’t mean I think it’s going to happen, as we all knew if was going to be a tough battle from the beginning, but I don’t need to prepare myself for the end, or anything of that sort. Enjoy each game for what it is…..except for this one, for which I chose to enjoy something else after about the second inning.

      Concerned about Kuroda? Sure. I appreciate Andy finding his form lately, but it needs to be all hands on deck if the improbable is going to happen. Your most consistent pitcher suddenly hitting a wall is the last thing you want…..next to your best hitter getting drilled in the hand.

      Success? People had this team dead in the water by May before the season even started. They’re still here. I’m damn proud, playoffs or not.

      • True Pinstriped Blue

        QUITTER. Typical only watch when it’s going good. No one needs ya.

  • forensic

    Girardi on Stewart: “Yeah, he just missed it and obviously it led to a couple extra runs, which is unfortunate, but it happens.”

    Really Joe? It happens? How many two-run strikeouts have you seen after the catcher failed to catch a pitch almost right down the middle???

    • ialien

      i respect that joe always backs up his players, to the point of making absurd comments that i’m certain he doesnt believe for one second deep inside. he is a very smooth liar.

      • Darren

        I agree. I mean, it was fun as hell in a twisted way to watch Tortarella throw his players under the bus every single day, but I do appreciate Joe not being a prick.
        It might provide you with a cheap thrill but I don’t think calling out players in the press usually works.

        • forensic

          I’m not saying he needs to go on a 10 minute tirade about how terrible it and he is (though it would be somewhat entertaining with Stewart as the subject), but don’t try to treat everyone like we’ve dumbasses who’ve never seen a major league baseball game.

          Say it’s a bad play that needs to be made, especially by a ‘defensive catcher’ who can’t hit, and even more especially when you’re a team hanging on the extreme fringe of still being in postseason contention.

          • forensic

            Obviously, Girardi wouldn’t say the middle part of that, but he should certainly say it’s a play that needs to be made when they barely hanging on to postseason contention.

  • Ethan

    I was at the game tonight. Man, it was a boring game. Once the Blue Jays scored early the Yankees didn’t put up a fight whatsoever. Definitely the most boring game i’ve watched live.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Games like this are murder live. I’ve had my share. You literally begin to ignore the reason you’re even there entirely after a while.

      • Ethan

        Yeah i ended up just walking around the stadium (first time in the ballpark) and went to the bar out in center field. Fortunately tickets were only $16 (we had upper tier) so it’s not too bad. Not like YSIII where tickets are $100+

        • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

          Not really. I got bleacher seats for ten bucks.

          Seriously, that’s such a myth. People get spooked by the average prices because they don’t realize that the “average” is driven up by the 1,000+ box seats. You can go to a Yankee game without breaking the bank.

          • Robinson Tilapia


      • Kramerica Industries

        This was me last Friday.

    • Wheels

      Was it kinda cool getting to see the roof open up, the mechanism and all?

      • ethan

        Yeah that was really neat. I didn’t know the roof opened in two places but it does. I don’t get why they don’t have real grass there because it could definitely grow with the roof open.

  • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

    So this O’s series is pretty much the one that confirms once and for all whether or not we’re REALLY still in the race.

    • Kramerica Industries

      To think, a 2/3 jobber in Toronto could’ve meant that, if things broke accordingly tomorrow, the Yankees would’ve been even with Cleveland and .5 ahead of the Orioles going into Friday. The importance being that they would be clear of any teams between them and a team holding a playoff spot.

      Instead, they’ll still be 5th in the wild card race regardless, and potentially 6.5 and 6 games back. This is one of those killer series where losing 2/3 is completely unacceptable. You look at those lineups the Jays ran out there the past couple days and tell me how that team should be winning series against purported playoff contenders. That was atrocious. And Chris Stewart especially – just go the hell away, already. I’ve never seen a defensive wizard who was so bad at defense.

      • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

        Can’t help but agree. And thus, here we stand, on the precipice of what I think we can, finally, call a truly must-win series.

        Here it is, boys. If you want a chance, win these next damn ballgames. Godspeed.

  • i like bacon

    another bad night, geez this is getting bad. play romine hes a better catcher than stewart. send joba down or any place but here.anyone want a head case called hughes?

  • dkidd

    miguel gonzalez is a terminator sent from the future to annoy yankee fans

    sweep the o’s, please. i don’t expect to make the playoffs but i’d like to delay the inevitable for another couple of weeks. i’d like mo to get a few more meaningful saves

    if nothing else, i enjoy tracking jeter’s pursuit of tris speaker

    • Kenny

      I’m hoping to see ARod get a grand slam and pass Gehrig.

  • Kosmo

    Kuroda :
    2012 after 27 starts: 12-10 WL 3.04 ERA
    2013 after 27 starts: 11-10 WL 2.89 ERA
    not much difference.

    He wilted in Sept. 2012.

    I´m hoping but not counting on it, a 19-10 finish for NY. A respectable 89 win season for a team decimated by injury and the truly disappointing seasons of Phuckup Phil and C.C. Sobadithurts.

  • Mick taylor

    If rob yanks of runs thompson had not made that awful decision to send arod, yanks have runners on 2nd and3rd with one out . Shot then makes it 7-4 and they are back in the game. Why is this guy still the 3rd base coach after many games of awful decisions. Yanks are out of it now. Would start rebuilding by putting kuroda granderson ichiro wells cc Hughes and cano on waivers today and see what you can get for next year. Of course idiot crashman, who for 15 years has had the advantage of 100 millin a year to spend more than most gms won’t do it . Just like he would not sign puig, darvish soler, cespedes, and other international players which would cost yanks only money.

    • JLC 776

      It’s nothing “Send them home, Sojo” wouldn’t have done…

      • Don from Boise

        Or “wave them home Willie” for that matter

  • JLC 776

    That game felt like a giant kick in the balls.

    I honestly feel bad for Kuroda. The guy has been our rock all year and now that he’s hit a rough stretch, people are starting to turn against him.

  • Frank

    O’s taking 2-3 this weekend should seal the deal for the Yanks’ season.

  • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

    With all the bridge-jumping going on after every loss, my evening commute home should be pretty quick today!

    Who’s willing to take the bet that Girardi starts Stewie again tonight as to “demonstrate confidence in him as our starting catcher” or some similar bulljive?

  • FLYER7

    I will check here from now on for the starting lineups and if Stewie is catching I will not watch…there now, for every Yankee fan, if Stewart starts you must depart…