NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Hiroki Kuroda will get the ball for the Yankees in their critical Game 3 matchup against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night, and the right-hander will be well-rested for his effort.
Though the 37-year-old has thrown more innings — 219 1/3 — in 2012 than in any other of his big league seasons, he’ll be taking the hill on six days’ rest.
And he’d be lying if he said the extra days aren’t to his advantage.
“Yes, I think definitely it’ll be favorable for me to have a little bit more rest,” Kuroda told reporters during a conference call on Tuesday. “I really haven’t thought of anything about (the impact of the innings). You know, I don’t really feel fatigued. I don’t think I can afford to think like that, because I always prepare myself for the next game, and that’s what I’m doing right now. So I’m just going to do my best and pitch my best game possible tomorrow.”
Manager Joe Girardi was completely forward about the fact that Kuroda had his start pushed back because of his massive regular-season workload. And he’s confident that the rest will do his starting pitcher plenty of good.
“We’ve seen he’s been pretty good on extra rest the times he’s went on his sixth day, and I know it’s his seventh or eighth day here,” Girardi said. “But we feel, with the innings that he’s logged, that this will be beneficial for him. When you look at his statistics, this is the most innings he’s thrown in a long time.”
Another bonus for Kuroda? He’ll be pitching in the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium, where he’s excelled in his lone season with the Yankees. The sinkerballer went 11-6 with a 2.72 ERA in 132 1/3 innings in the Bronx.
“I think it’s just a matter of luck that I have great numbers here at Yankee Stadium,” he said. “But I think one of the biggest things is the fans. They really motivate me during the game.”
Kuroda previously pitched in the postseason with the Dodgers in 2008 and 2009. In ’08 he won both of his starts for Los Angeles, allowing just two runs in 12 1/3 innings pitched. In ’09, however, he was shelled in only playoff start, surrendering six runs in 1 1/3 innings.
Kuroda was steady for the American League East champions in the regular season, going 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA and 167 strikeouts.
Do you feel confident with Kuroda taking the hill on Wednesday night? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…