Have the innings finally caught up to the 38-year-old Hiroki Kuroda?
For much of this season, he has been the rock of the rotation, the one dependable starter in a rotation of uncertainty. That, however, has changed. In his last three starts, his ERA is 8.09 (15 earned runs in 16.2 innings). That stands in stark contrast to his first 24 starts, when he pitched to an ERA of 2.33.
Has his workload caught up to him?
This year, Kuroda has pitched 171.1 innings, second on the staff to C.C. Sabathia's 177.2. Last year, he led the staff with 219.2 innings (fourth in the league). Since coming to the U.S. in 2008, Kuroda has pitched 1,090 innings, ranking him 79th among active pitchers. However, he racked up 1,697 innings in his 11 seasons with the Hiroshima Carp. His career total (2,787 innings) would place him fourth among active pitchers. In 2011 and 2012, he threw 219.2 and 202.0 innings, the only time in his career that he has had consecutive seasons with more than 200 innings pitched.
His innings this year may have been more stressful than usual because he is the de-facto ace of the staff and the Yankee offense has been missing in action for most of the year. One bad inning would often mean defeat, so he has had no margin for error.