"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice


In the classic Soundgarden tune “Outshined”, Chris Cornell writes:

I just looked in the mirror
And things aren’t lookin’ so good.
I’m looking California
And feelin’ Minnesota.

That brief stanza may be an apt way to describe Hiroki Kuroda’s start Wednesday night. He was both looking and feeling California in the home opener last Friday against the Los Angeles Angels. In the song, “feeling Minnesota” is a euphemism for feeling terrible. On the field, Kuroda wasn’t feeling Minnesota, Minnesota was feeling Kuroda. Four of the first five Twins to come to the plate in the first inning got hits and scored. By the time Kuroda had thrown 13 pitches, the Yankees were in a 4-0 hole.

Hiroki Kuroda's second Yankee Stadium start was much rougher than his first. (Photo Credit / Getty Images)

Kuroda’s downfall was Justin Morneau. His two-run home run in the first inning put the Twins up 4-0, he singled and scored in the third, and he belted another home run in the fifth — a solo shot — to end Kuroda’s night. (Not to question X’s and O’s, but Morneau’s fifth-inning home run came on a 2-0 count. Was anyone else thinking, “Hey, the bases are empty, walk him and take your chances with someone named Chris Parmelee?”).

The Yankees’ lineup, which was without Alex Rodriguez and Brett Gardner but had Mark Teixeira back, did their best to bail out Kuroda, responding with three runs of their own in the bottom of the first. Trailing 4-3, they loaded the bases with one out and a realistic chance to post a crooked number until Eric Chavez ended the threat by grounding into a double play.

Three different times the Yankees would get to within one run of the Twins, but not once could they tie the game. Three straight innings — the fifth, sixth and seventh — the Yankees put the leadoff man on base and mounted threats, but couldn’t score. After the first inning, the only runs they were able to manage came off solo home runs from Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter.

6-5 final, series finale with Phil Hughes on the mound Thursday. Are you confident?


  • Alex Belth’s profile of Kuroda, posted here in February, made us want to root for him for reasons beyond his simply wearing the Yankee uniform. Wednesday was one of those nights sinkerballers tend to have. If the sinker doesn’t sink, it stinks.

    “He was just up all night,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He didn’t seem to have it from the get-go.”

    Despite the poor result, which raised Kuroda’s ERA to an even 5.00 and his WHIP to 1.61, Kuroda remains an integral component to the Yankees’ starting rotation, based on his skill set, veteran presence, and experience. We’ll have about 30 more chances to root for him.

  • Opposing Kuroda was native Long Islander Jason Marquis. Marquis, who grew up in Staten Island and still lives there, was making his American League and 2012 season debut. Marquis had pitched in New York before, but at Shea Stadium and Citi Field, but had never pitched a major league game in the Bronx.

    Marquis’ debut was delayed; this story has been well document. He left the Twins with two weeks to go in Spring Training to attend to his daughter, who lacerated her liver in a bicycle accident. Ken Rosenthal does a tremendous job of portraying the details of the story here. As a father of one little girl and another on the way, I applaud what Marquis did. There’s no decision to make.

    His daughter had four surgeries and is recovering well. According to reports, a full recovery is expected within three months. How fortunate Jason Marquis was to be home with his family, and STAY home when he joined his new team. As a bonus, his family got to be on the field with him yesterday (nice work by YES taking video and showing that B-roll during the bottom of the first inning).

    And he got the win.


    1 Chris in Sydney   ~  Apr 18, 2012 11:19 pm

    I got to see the reunited Soundgarden outdoors on Lake Tahoe last summer. It was way better than this game, which sucked ass.

    2 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Apr 19, 2012 12:00 am

    [1] Soundgarden reunion tour? Jeez, I remember listening to them in college..20 years ago..when "grunge" bands are reforming for cash-a-palooza reunion tours that's a sign you're getting older!

    3 Chris in Sydney   ~  Apr 19, 2012 12:24 am

    Further bummer: Gardner to the DL.

    [2] Yeah, it does make you feel old. Brings back some memories too. I get the feeling they are into it for more than just cash, since they are writing new songs and there is no shortage of other work for Cornell, at least.

    4 Boatzilla   ~  Apr 19, 2012 12:32 am

    [3] Heard that. Horrible news for our senior line up.

    Speaking of old. The Who are coming to Japan. Apparently they are doing a live "Tommy." But they call it "Thomas" now.

    I actually saw them do Tommy live in 1989 at Giants Stadium.

    5 Chris in Sydney   ~  Apr 19, 2012 12:52 am

    [4] Yeah, man. Brett was tearing it up. And horrible news for the pitchers too, who will have at least two weeks of Jones/Ibanez behind them.

    6 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Apr 19, 2012 12:59 am

    [4] Early Who records are great..can't imagine how awful their live show would be now.

    [5] Ibanez in the field is terrifying..maybe this will wake up the Yanks to Gardner' real value?

    7 Will Weiss   ~  Apr 19, 2012 8:01 am

    [1] I laughed out loud at your post, Chris. I shuddered at the fact that I used the word "classic" to describe that song. Now I know how my mother felt when I was a kid and she was only 25 years removed from the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, etc. This is depressing.

    [2][6] On Soundgarden's FB page, they link to YouTube clips of the current recording sessions. Matt Cameron is as solid as ever behind the kit. Definitely one who inspired me and my own playing. The Who's live show will remain good if they can find a serviceable bass player, and somehow retain Zak Starkey or Simon Phillips on drums. Daltrey and Townsend can still sing, play and perform.

    Was there a game last night? I forgot...

    8 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Apr 19, 2012 11:14 am

    [4] You think you feel old? I saw The Who do Tommy before the album was out in 1969. My summer camp in the Berkshires took the kids (I was in the youngest group to go at 12 years old) to Tanglewood to see the The Jefferson Airplane, The Who, and BB King one week before the Woodstock festival. It was a transcending experience for me, as real hippies were doing hippie things, and the music was spectacular.

    What were the camp directors thinking?

    9 OldYanksFan   ~  Apr 19, 2012 3:59 pm

    You think you feel old? I passed up a chance to see the Monkeys! (Some kid named Jimi Hendrix was the opening act).

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    "This ain't football. We do this every day."
    --Earl Weaver