The Yankees need a healthy CC Sabathia if they hope to make a legitimate run at the World Series, but Hiroki Kuroda continues to prove that he’s no slouch, either.
Kuroda limited the Rangers to just two hits in a complete game 3-0 win tonight at Yankee Stadium. It was his fourth career shutout and his second as a member of the Yankees. He previously threw a rain-shortened, seven-inning shutout against the Blue Jays on July 18.
Kuroda actually had a no-hitter going until Elvis Andrus reached on a leadoff single in the top of the seventh inning. The game remained scoreless until Nick Swisher connected for a two-run homer against Alexi Ogando with one out in the bottom of the seventh. It was immediately followed by a solo shot from Mark Teixeira. That was more than enough support for Kuroda on this night.
Kuroda ended up striking out five and walking two en route to improving to 11-8 on the year. The 37-year-old right-hander struggled early on in the season, but now has an excellent 3.06 ERA and 121/38 K/BB ratio over 159 innings.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.