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First Pitch: Kuroda is second to none

Hiroki Kuroda may be the best No. 2 starter in baseball. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

On Tuesday, it was more about Matt Harvey. On Sunday, it will be more about Clay Buchholz. It is never really about Hiroki Kuroda.

Even his manager, Joe Girardi, wouldn't say there is any extra excitement in the clubhouse when Kuroda takes the mound. Yeah, Girardi said the Yankees are happy when Kuroda is out there, but they are that way for all their starters.

That's the way Kuroda likes it. He is a no-frills guy. He is just the guy that you can count on.

Kuroda will treat Sunday Night Baseball against the Red Sox like it is a Tuesday night versus the Mariners.

"He just keeps on doing what he does," said Kyodo News' Keizo Konishi, who has covered Japanese baseball for 13 years.

Kuroda is just a guy you have to respect. He made the transition from the NL West to the AL East. With a 6-3 record and a 2.39 ERA, he is about as good a No. 2 starter as you will find in baseball and, if it were not for CC Sabathia's outing on Friday, the talk would be about Kuroda maybe becoming the new ace of the Yankees.

But he will never be the guy with the big pub or the one featured in the promos heading into a start. He is the other guy, but he usually wins the duel on the mound.

UP NOW: My column on Phil Hughes. The theme is: You can't pay him big money in the offseason if you don't want him pitching against the Red Sox.

Matt Ehalt writes about the poor offense and Chris Stewart's condition after leaving because of dehydration.

ON DECK: Buster Olney has a Sunday Conversation with Brian Cashman that you can check out portions of here or on your TV throughout the day.

IN THE HOLE: Ian O'Connor, Kieran Darcy and I will be at the Stadium tonight. The clubhouse opens around 4:20 p.m.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Is there a better No. 2 starter in baseball?