First Pitch: Can he be a postseason Hiro?

August, 14, 2012
8/14/12
6:00
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Hiroki Kuroda has started three times in the playoffs. He has two very good outings and one that wasn't very good. But with CC Sabathia's sore elbow and the Rangers in town, Kuroda will have an opportunity to give us a peek at what we might see in October.

[+] EnlargeHiroki Kuroda
William Perlman/The Star-Ledger/US PresswireHiroki Kuroda will pitch against the Rangers on Tuesday, in a possible playoff preview.
The heat of August is different than the chilll of October, but the way the season has shaped up, Kuroda has to be one of Joe Girardi's playoff starters. Though just 10-8, his 3.24 ERA is better than any other starter except Andy Pettitte (3.22). Pettitte has made just nine starts because of his fractured fibula.

Pettitte is the wild card for the playoff rotation. If Pettitte looks good, then Girardi will be able to decide if he wants to start Kuroda between Sabathia and Pettitte. Keep in mind, the ALDS' higher seeds will start on the road, so if Pettitte is right, they may want to save him for Game 3 at Yankee Stadium.

But tonight, we get to see how Kuroda does against the Rangers for a second time. Earlier this year, he lost to Yu Darvish, but pitched well, going 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball. Tonight, Kuroda gets a rematch.

UP NOW: Ian O'Connor's column on Brian Cashman. Derek Lowe pitches great and is funny about it. Mariano Rivera plays toss, but is not coming back unless you want to see him carted off again, Cashman says.

ON DECK:The firm of Simon & Sharp will prepare you for tonight's Kuroda vs. Matt Harrison (13-6, 3.31) matchup with a What2Watch4. We will be on the blog all day. Clubhouse opens at 3:20.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Do you believe in Hiroki in the playoffs?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Hiroki Kuroda
WINS ERA SO IP
2 3.86 14 18
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .353
HRC. Beltran 4
RBIC. Beltran 9
RC. Beltran 8
OPSC. Beltran 1.041
ERAM. Pineda 1.00
SOM. Tanaka 28

NEW YORK CALENDAR