In 2009, the Yankees signed CC Sabathia in hopes that he would be the ace for years to come. But as he pitches through one of his worst seasons since coming to the Bronx, another face has emerged to take the spotlight as the top pitcher in the rotation.
That man is Hiroki Kuroda and so far this season, he's been everything Sabathia haven't been.
Sunday in Boston, Kuroda fired off just another in a string of strong outings this season. Up until the 7th, when he allowed his only two runs of the game, he had a streak of 18 straight scoreless innings going.
Kuroda gave the Yankees seven innings of two run ball, while holding a fierce Red Sox lineup to only five hits. But going seven innings isn't something rare for Kuroda, because he's thrown at least seven innings in 10 of his 20 starts this season.
Going deep into games and giving the bullpen little to no work every fifth day is something that an ace does for you. Kuroda does that for the Yankees.
Sabathia has also been a workhorse for the Yankees this season, as usual, going at least seven innings in 13 of his 20 starts. The only difference is that Kuroda is pitching better.
Kuroda's 2.65 ERA ranks him among the top in the American League, while CC's 4.07 earned run average doesn't.
In 13 of his starts, Kuroda has held opponents to two earned runs or less, while Sabathia has yielded two runs at most in only eight starts.
The main problem with CC is that you don't know what you're going to get with him. In his last start against the Twins last Sunday, Sabathia endured one of the worst starts of his Yankee career, allowing eight runs in only four innings.
Yet in the outing prior to that against the Royals, Sabathia went the distance, permitting only three runs on seven hits in nine innings, but took the loss because of poor run support.
With Kuroda, you don't have to worry about what kind of outing you're going to get from him because he's been so consistent this year. He's only given up two runs in his last three starts, both coming on Saturday, giving up 14 hits in 19 innings.
While CC Sabathia is still one of the more feared pitchers in the league, when he's at his best, he can dominate and shut down any offense. But the 2013 Sabathia hasn't been much of what we're use to seeing.
Instead he's been taken over by Kuroda, who's put together a very good year that CC's really can't compare to. He might not be getting the recognition around the league as one of baseball's top pitchers, but at least on the Yankees, Kuroda is an ace and it's time people start realizing that.