With so much riding on the outcome tonight, it just feels appropriate that the Yankees will hand the ball to Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda, of course, anchored the Yankees’ rotation when C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte were out with injuries, and now the Yankees will need at least one more big performance from him to put them within reach of the ALCS. Kuroda did seem to wear down a little bit in September and set a new career high with 219.2 innings pitched in 2012, but he gave the team seven strong in his final outing against the Red Sox on the final day of the regular season, and with a fully stocked bullpen the Yankees will only need him to keep them in the game through the early going before turning it over to the relievers if need be. Of course, they’ll also need to score some runs for him, but that’s another matter entirely.
Kuroda made two starts against the Orioles this year, both at Yankee Stadium, and held the Birds to a 2.93 ERA and .231/.250/.346 slash line in 15.1 innings pitched.…