After a decent first half, pitcher Hiroki Kuroda is looking to continue working well on the mound.
The 39-year-old starter from Japan (and the only original starter from Opening Day not on the disabled list) has thrown 123 innings with an even 6-6 record and a 3.88 ERA. He also owns a 103 ERA+, which makes him very slightly above average. Considering his age, not too shabby.
However, Kuroda desperately wants to avoid a second half debacle like last season, where he was winless in his last eight starts an ERA hovering close to 7. This year, Kuroda aims to be consistent, and he has been remarkably consistent to a tee; he has exactly a 3-3 record and 3.88 ERA both inside Yankee Stadium and in opposing stadiums.
Hopefully this symmetry does not mean the same numbers from July-September 2013. What also should encourage the veteran’s chances is an improved ERA in each of the prior four months, including a 2.63 in four July starts thus far. Maybe this should not be looked into very much, as July 2013 held a 0.55 ERA across five starts for the Japan native.
More good news: excluding last August, Kuroda has never pitched above 2.95 in the month of August for any MLB season. One has to think that last year was a fluke despite a decrease in several peripherals. But, the Yankees must make sure that they handle Kuroda appropriately. If he hurts himself, the season is lost.