Is The Annual Hiroki Kuroda Late-Season Fade Underway?

Hirok vs CLE

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Hiroki Kuroda did not look good yesterday.  His command was off, hitters were squaring him up, and he seemed to tire very quickly around the 80-90 pitch mark in the 5th inning, an inning he was unable to complete.  Paired with a similar failure to close an inning in the 7th on Tuesday night against the Tigers, the talk of Hirok slowing down in August as he did last year is quickly picking up.  Is it warranted?  2 starts is hardly enough to say definitively, but there are some SSS numbers worth considering for either side of the argument.

Case For:

The Contact Rates- The split in Hirok’s 2 August starts is 30.6% LD/38.9% GB/30.6% FB.  That’s by far the worst monthly split he’s had all year.  It’s the first time his LD % against has been over 22.0% and the first time his GB rate has dipped below 44.0%.  This isn’t guys sneaking seeing-eye singles through holes in the infield.  …

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Monday Mid-Morning Food For Thought: The One Positive From The Weekend Series

That was a rather sour finish to the homestand.  To go from taking 3 of 4 from the Tigers and outpitching their rotation of studs in the process to dropping 2 of 3 to the Indians and scoring 1 run in the final 18 innings of the series was the highest highs right back to the lowest lows, another example of this team’s maddening inconsistency.  The Yankees lost ground in the postseason races this past weekend and head into Baltimore for a crucial series needing at least a 2-1 series win to seriously stay in AL East title contention.

If there’s one positive thing to take away from the last 2 days, it’s this.  The Yankees are heading into Baltimore tonight with the big guns in their bullpen well rested.  The way the Cleveland series went down gave Joe the option of scaling back the usage of guys like David Robertson, Dellin Betances, and Adam Warren and it was an option he took.  …

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Yankeemetrics: August 8-10 (Indians)

Derek Jeter passed Honus Wagner for sixth place on the all-time hits list on Saturday. (Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Derek Jeter passed Honus Wagner for sixth place on the all-time hits list on Saturday. (Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Grand Beltran
The Yankees opened their weekend series against the Indians with a 10-6 win on Friday night. Carlos Beltran drove in half of the Yankee runs with an RBI single and a grand slam.

It was his 11th career grand slam and first since 2012. The only switch-hitter in major-league history with more grand slams than Beltran is Eddie Murray (19).

Beltran, who hit five of those with the Mets, became the third player to hit a four-run homer with the Mets and Yankees. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he joined Darryl Strawberry and Robin Ventura in this exclusive club.

He also recorded his 15th career game with five or more RBIs, tying Eddie Murray and Lance Berkman for the fourth-most such games among MLB switch hitters.

Dellin Betances pitched the ninth inning, striking out two of the five batters he faced.…

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Game 117 Recap: Indians 4 Yankees 1

Kuroda vs CLE

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The combination of Mark Teixeira back in the lineup and Corey Kluber back in the dugout should have been cause for confidence in Yankeeland.  After getting shut out on Saturday afternoon, they needed a win today to secure the series in their favor, and with less than 50 games remaining each win becomes even more important in relation to the playoff races.  Once again the bats no-showed, however, and they head back onto the road to face Baltimore losers of 2 of 3.

Hiroki Kuroda got the ball today and in short, he was pretty bad.  He couldn’t bury his splitter or put his sinker where he wanted to with regularity and the Indians put 3 hits together for a run on him in the top of the 1st.  A Jason Kipnis double and a pair of sac plays plated a second run in the 3rd, and in the 5th he completely lost a sinker and hit a batter on a 1-2 pitch, loaded the bases with 2 outs, and left after walking in a run.  …

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Game 117 – Indians haven’t a Kluber today

Sometimes you just have to tip your cap and play another day. Corey Kluber was too much for the Yankees yesterday and there is no shame in that as Kluber has had a real breakout season. But today is that other day and the Yankees face a pitcher not nearly as talented in Carlos Carrasco. But I probably shouldn’t sell Carrasco short. He has some good peripherals this season.

You have to like the Yankees’ chances, however, with Hiroki Kuroda pitching a day game at YS3. That is usually a pretty good formula. Plus, the Indians will be missing Nick Swisher and David Murphy due to injuries. The way Swisher’s season has been going, that might not be much of a miss.

The Yankees will see Zach Walters who called up today. Walters is a power-hitting, high strikeout, low walk kind of guy that the Indians got back as part of the Asdrubal Cabrera trade with the Nationals. Walters is a switch-hitter and not a guy you want to groove a fastball against.…

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Game 116 Quick Recap: Indians 3 Yankees 0

ONeill Plaque

“Paul Oh-Neeiill! Clap, clap, clapclapclap!” Courtesy of Getty Images

It was Paul O’Neill Day at The Stadium this afternoon.  Before the game, the Yankees held a ceremony honoring him and unveiled his new plaque out in Monument Park.  Safe to say that was the high point and only Yankee-related highlight on the day.

Corey Kluber has been the unquestioned ace of the Cleveland staff this season and an absolute stud.  When the season ends he’s going to find himself near the top of a lot of Cy Young ballots and he showed why today.  He held the less-than-100% Yankee lineup scoreless over 6 innings and only allowed 4 hits, 1 for extra bases, while striking out 10.  About the only good thing the Yanks did against him was force him from the game after those 6 innings and 109 pitches.

Brandon McCarthy was very good again in his 6th start in pinstripes, pitching into the 7th and striking out 8 while not walking a single batter.  …

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Game 116: McCarthy Goes For 5-0

Last night’s series-opening victory made for the Yankees’ 4th separate winning streak of 3 games or more since the All-Star Break.  They’re an impressive 14-7 since the break, a season best 7 games over .500, and back within half a game of the second Wild Card spot.  They’re sending out their recent best starter in Brandon McCarthy this afternoon against Cleveland’s best starter, Corey Kluber, and they’ll be without Teix and Big Mac in the middle of the batting order.  Here is today’s starting lineup:

1) Brett Gardner- LF
2) Derek Jeter- SS
3) Jacoby Ellsbury- CF
4) Carlos Beltran- DH
5) Chase Headley- 1B
6) Stephen Drew- 2B
7) Martin Prado- 3B
8) Ichiro Suzuki- RF
9) Francisco Cervelli -C

McCarthy is 4-0 in his 5 Yankee starts and the team is 5-0.  Let’s keep that streak rolling today on Paul O’Neill Day, huh?

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McCann Diagnosed With Mild Concussion, Could Head To The DL (UPDATED)

Other than the Carlos Beltran grand slam, the biggest thing to happen in last night’s game was Brian McCann‘s early exit with what the team has called a mild concussion.  He took a foul tip off his mask in the 3rd inning, and according to Chad Jennings, was removed from the game in the 6th after telling Joe he didn’t feel “quite right.”

No decision has been made on whether or not McCann will go on the 7-day concussion DL.  The plan was to have him undergo some tests this morning at The Stadium and then decide.  He’s obviously not in today’s lineup and I’m sure we’ll find out more either before or after the game.  With Teix still feeling the effects of his finger injury, the middle of the lineup will be without 2 of its big bats.

** UPDATE 12:09 PM- Via Bryan Hoch, McCann has been placed on the 7-day concussion DL and the team has called up Austin Romine.  

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Game 115: Mr. Rogers’ House

Esmil Rogers is today’s starter for the Yankees after David Phelps was placed on the DL earlier this week. Joe Girardi said the reason it took so long for the team to announce the decision was because Rogers was on the train when Joe made the decision and he had no reception. Girardi wanted Rogers to hear from him first that he was starting.

Rogers becomes the eleventh pitcher to start this year for the Yankees, according to the game notes, which is the most the team has used since 2008 (13). During the time in between, they never used more than nine starters in a season. Only the Rockies (14), Rangers (13), and Marlins (12) have used more starters this season.

Anyhoo, Mark Teixeira is out again today with a sore pinky that he cut in Wednesday night’s win. He said gripping the bat was painful for him, but he hit today off a tee and took some soft toss.…

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