So far, we’ve heard a number of reasons for the Dodgers’ first two losses, but frankly, this is one of those times when the “we have 158 games left to play” is applicable. A shakey start from an ace and a horrible start from a mediocre pitcher caused two losses. Two brilliant performances by a potential ace and a decent starter created two wins.
Hiroki Kuroda came in last night and pitched a hell of a game. He was locating his pitches and was able to fool the Marlins, who are one of the better patient-hitting teams in baseball (.268 BA/.340 OBP last year), into swinging at a number of balls. From the look of MLB.com’s Pitch F/X, it looks like he was gifted a wider strike zone, but damn if he wasn’t filling it.
His sinker was working fantastically, too.
Courtesy of Brooksbaseball.com
Look how many of those are inside. How encouraging is that? Not only that he came back, not only that his pitches were effective, but that he was extremely aggressive.
On top of that, his fastball speed was averaging 91.75 mph and his sinker, which was so effective, averaged 91.34. He threw the sinker 61 times. His four-seamer? Only six.
He dropped in his slider and splitter a few times to mix up the speeds and he did it very well.
If you’re a Dodger fan, this is encouraging. Kuroda had problems last year stemming from the Aug. 15, 2009 incident when a line drive came back and hit him in the noggin. He pitched only 1800 pitches last year and was pulled last night in the 8th inning after 100 pitches.
That is a hell of a comeback.
What worries me most about Kuroda, aside from having any kind of PTSD from the incident last year, is his pitch count. If he pitches 100 pitches every game from here on out, he’ll have 3,500 pitches thrown this year. Double of what he threw last year. Granted, this is the last season on Kuroda’s contract, but you want him to still be effective next year as the Dodgers will probably be the team to land him.