Hiroki Kuroda is likely to sign a one-year deal. Maybe back with the Yankees. Possibly up in Boston. But Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles says that the smart money may be on L.A. Why? Family:
Previously, teams have been under the impression that Kuroda would either re-sign with the New York Yankees or return to his native Japan to finish his career. But Kuroda has told friends that his first preference is to pitch in Southern California, where his two daughters are attending elementary school.
These “player x wants to be in location y because of non-baseball reason z” reports don’t have a great track record of bearing out. If they did, CC Sabathia would be pitching in California right now. But it’s a data point worth thinking about.
Perhaps there are a few who still miss the slope of Tal’s Hill rising from center field, but George Springer isn’t one of them. He lassoed a 403-foot fly ball from Todd Frazier in the seventh inning of Game 6, reaching nearly to the top of the wall to prevent the Yankees from gaining on the Astros’ 3-0 lead.
According to Statcast, a fly ball with an exit velocity of 103.6 MPH and a launch angle of 29 degrees lands for a home run 72% of the time. That wasn’t going to fly with the Astros, who were facing runners on first and second with one out and saw Justin Verlander‘s pitch count rapidly approaching 100.
It wasn’t long before the Yankees tried for another home run, however, and this one sailed far above the heads of all of the Astros’ outfielders. Aaron Judge lofted a 425-foot shot to left field in the eighth inning, destroying a first-pitch fastball from Brad Peacock and finally getting New York on the board.
The Yankees currently trail the Astros 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth.