TORONTO -- Over his past two starts, Hiroki Kuroda has pitched 16 1/3 innings, allowed eight hits, walked one, struck out 12 and allowed just one measly run.
And yet, he has just one win to show for his troubles, since the Yankees bullpen -- in this case, the normally dependable David Robertson -- blew a three-run lead Saturday to the Blue Jays. And although the team came back to win, 5-3, in 11 innings, Kuroda had to settle for a no-decision.
"The biggest thing for me is not whether I get the win or not," said Kuroda, whose ERA dropped to 2.34, second on the starting staff behind Andy Pettitte. "As long as the team wins, it’s the biggest thing, so that was good."
Kuroda allowed a double to Melky Cabrera that sailed over Brett Gardner's glove in the first inning, and then just two singles the rest of the way. Although he was effectivly wild -- his fastball sailed all the way to the backstop twice early in the game and he bounced several curveballs -- he walked only one batter and struck out seven. But after he allowed a one-out single to Colby Rasmus in the eighth, Joe Girardi chose to go to Robertson even though Kuroda had thrown 113 pitches in his complete-game shutout against the Orioles last week and only 108 today.
Asked if he felt he could go further, the diplomatic Kuroda smiled and said, "I’m going to pitch until the manager tells me not to. I have all the confidence in Robertson, so I’m really comfortable with today’s outcome."
Girardi said his decision to pull Kuroda was rooted more in his pitcher's age (38) than in his pitch count. "We've got to remember he's not 25 anymore," Girardi said. "It's a long season and I don't want to kill these guys early."
QUESTION: Even though the Yankees won today, do you think Girardi should have stayed with Kuroda longer?