First Pitch: Kuroda, sweep-stopper?

September, 8, 2013
Hiroki Kuroda Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsThe Yankees desperately need Hiroki Kuroda to solve the Sawx.
NEW YORK -- The Yankees' postseason hopes are on virtual life support after three straight losses to Boston.

On Sunday, they'll hand the ball to their most consistent pitcher, Hiroki Kuroda.

Problem is, Kuroda hasn't been very consistent of late. In his most recent start, Kuroda allowed seven hits and four earned runs in 6 1/3 innings in a Yankees win over the White Sox. In three starts prior to that, Kuroda had struggled mightily. He was 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA and opponents hit .382 off him with a .400 on-base percentage in that span.

Still, with CC Sabathia and the rest of the Yankees' staff turning in inconsistent performances, Kuroda probably gives the Bombers their best chance to win right now.

Before his recent rough patch, Kuroda was the unquestioned ace of the Yankees' staff.

He was 11-7 with a 2.33 ERA.

Kuroda will be pitching with a significant amount of pressure on Sunday.

The Yankees are 2 1/2 games behind Texas and Tampa Bay for the second wild-card spot with 19 games to play.

UP NOW: We have the latest on Derek Jeter's left ankle injury. Jeter and his team are tough but breaking down. But they're not done yet, says Andrew Marchand. Mike Mazzeo takes a look at David Huff's rough afternoon on Saturday.

WHAT'S NEXT: Marchand and I will have you covered from Yankee Stadium for the Yankees-Red Sox matinee on Sunday.

QUESTION: How confident are you that the Yankees can still make a run despite their injuries and shaky performances against Boston?

Ian Begley

ESPN New York Writer



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Jacoby Ellsbury
.271 16 70 71
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146