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Monday, July 8, 2013
First Pitch: Kuroda All-Star-worthy?

By Matt Ehalt

NEW YORK -- After shutting down Baltimore over seven innings Saturday, Hiroki Kuroda lowered his ERA to 2.77. He's been the Yankees' best pitcher through the first half, although his wins and losses don't reflect how well he's pitched.

Despite his strong work, Kuroda was not named to the AL All-Star team, although he possibly could be added later as a replacement. His current omission, however, begs the question: Does Kuroda deserve to be on the squad?

The AL currently has nine starters on its roster. Here's a look at how Kuroda stacks up against the selections.

• Hiroki Kuroda (7-6, 2.77 ERA, 79 K, 1.029 WHIP)

Clay Buchholz (9-0, 1.71 ERA, 81 K, 1.02 WHIP)

Bartolo Colon (11-3, 2.78 ERA, 61 K, 1.103 WHIP)

Yu Darvish (8-4, 3.02 ERA, 157 K, 1.047 WHIP)

Felix Hernandez (8-4, 2.69 ERA, 130 K, 1.108 WHIP)

Hisashi Iwakuma (7-4, 2.60 ERA, 103 K, 0.882 WHIP)

Justin Masterson (10-7, 3.78 ERA, 131 K, 1.220 WHIP)

Chris Sale (5-8, 2.78 ERA, 123 K, 0.962 WHIP)

Max Scherzer (13-0, 3.09 ERA, 139 K, 0.917 WHIP)

Justin Verlander (9-5, 3.54 ERA, 119 K, 1.357 WHIP)

Kuroda is tied eighth in wins, has the fourth-best ERA, is ninth in strikeouts and fifth in WHIP.

Overall, it would make a good argument that Kuroda deserved a spot over Verlander and Masterson.

AL manager Jim Leyland said Saturday that he factored in Verlander's history, as he's won the MVP and Cy Young Award. It's hard to argue with that.

Masterson, though, doesn't have those same credentials. He does, however, lead the league innings pitched in games started.

Whether he deserved to be elected or not, Kuroda still has a chance to be named an All-Star due to pitchers potentially backing out because of injuries, or starting the Sunday before the All-Star Game. Kuroda has never been named an All-Star.

Up now: Wallace Matthews writes about Mariano Rivera's second blown save. I touched on Kuroda's gem. Michael Pineda is staying in Triple-A.

On deck: The Yankees begin a four-game set against the Royals. Wally will have you covered from Yankee Stadium.

Question: Should Kuroda have been selected to the All-Star team?