First Pitch: Are you a Hiro?

NEW YORK -- Now nearly halfway through the season, the Yankees' Most Important Player may be on the mound on Friday night.

Hiroki Kuroda needs to be a stabilizer if the Yankees are going to push through and win the mediocre AL East.

Hiroki Kuroda

Hiroki Kuroda

#18 SP
New York Yankees

2014 STATS

  • GM14
  • W4

  • L5

  • BB17

  • K57

  • ERA4.32

The Yankees know what they have in Masahiro Tanaka. With his pitches darting every different direction, he is an ace. They hope David Phelps and Chase Whitley can be consistent starters. Meanwhile, Vidal Nuno doesn't seem long for the rotation.

While CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda might eventually come back, and Brian Cashman could very well make a trade for a starter, the Yankees need Kuroda to be a little more consistent.

Kuroda, 39, has been a tad better of late. After starting 2-3 with a 5.14 ERA in his first six starts, Kuroda is 2-2 with a 3.72 ERA in his last eight.

He will face the Baltimore Orioles on Friday. The O's are making the second trip of the year to the Bronx. During the first visit in April, Kuroda beat the the Orioles 4-2. He went 6 1/3 innings and allowed two runs, both earned.

If the Yankees are going to separate themselves from the AL East pack, Kuroda probably has to join Tanaka as a consistent winner.

Pitching Matchups: Your weekend pitching matchups against the Orioles:

Friday, 7 p.m.: Kuroda (4-5, 4.32) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (2-8., 4.86)

Saturday 1 p.m., Nuno (1-3, 5.90) vs. Bud Norris (6-5, 3.73)

Sunday, 2 p.m., Tanaka (11-1, 1.99) vs. Chris Tillman (5-4, 4.82)

Sunday is a late start because it is Old Timers Day.

On-deck: I'll have you covered when the clubhouse opens at 3:20 p.m. Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend.