Switching leagues is not necessarily the same as before interleague play, but it still remains an adjustment. The adjustment consists of scouting reports before games and selecting the right pitches during games.
In Hiroki Kuroda’s two starts that has been a mixed bag. Against the unfamiliar Rays, he struggled, throwing 95 pitches in 5 2/3 innings. But last week against the Angels, he threw 109 pitches and came within three outs of pitching his third career complete game.
Kuroda knew several Angel hitters from his four seasons in the “Freeway Series” as a member of the Dodgers. His next three starts will be against the Twins, Rangers and Tigers.
“The biggest challenge is to get to know the hitters,” Kuroda said through an interpreter. “No matter how much you see them on video, it’s different when you go the mound and face them in real life.”
Kuroda’s most extensive experience against Minnesota hitters consists of 12 at-bats against Ryan Doumit and nine against Josh Willingham. Doumit is one of 12 AL hitters that has seen Kuroda more than 10 times.
“I think everyone wants to know or have familiarity with what they’re doing,” manager Joe Girardi said. “When you haven’t seen a Justin Morneau or anyone in their lineup, you’re not always sure how they’re going to react to your curveball. You might see how they react to someone else’s curveball or your cutter or your split.
“For a pitcher he’s really got to read swings and watch how they’re approaching it and the catcher has to pay attention. When you haven’t seen a guy, you really have to focus and pay attention.”
In his two starts, Kuroda threw 37 sinkers each time, but he increased the amount of sliders thrown from 20 to 35. That may lend credence to the fact that Kuroda is more of a pitcher who works on feel.
Mark Teixeira is 3-for-20 with 10 strikeouts against Francisco Liriano, but did not get a chance for more at-bats. He was a late scratch with flu-like symptons, but Girardi is hoping he will play Wednesday.
“My guess is he would. I think today not doing much probably will help him,” Girardi said.
That meant Nick Swisher’s originally scheduled DH night was canceled and he was the first baseman. In the third inning, he made a highlight-worthy catch of Luke Hughes’s foul pop, leaning over the railing.
Old School, Really Old School
The Red Sox are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park and the Yankees are getting involved by wearing the uniforms of the 1912 New York Highlanders.
The Highlanders played at Hilltop Park at West 168th and Broadway, the current home of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, before moving downtown to the Polo Grounds and eventually to Yankee Stadium in 1923.
No Ice for Gardner
Brett Gardner made a tremendous diving catch to end the third inning on a sinking liner by Josh Willingham. He was initially holding his right wrist, but said he did not need any ice afterwards.
“It feels better now than when it happened,” Gardner said. “Usually it gets worse as the game goes on.”
Gardner also doubled twice for his first two extra-base hits. One was a double off Liriano, whom he is now 7-for-14 against.
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.