Dodgers have to be concerned about Hiroki Kuroda after his latest poor outing in 11-3 loss to Rockies
Maybe you should be. Just maybe it’s time to be concerned.
Kuroda was the one stable aspect to the Dodgers’ rotation in April, but he has taken a slow but obvious turn of late.
His struggles in the Dodgers’ 11-3 loss to the Rockies on Saturday were the most pronounced sign of a struggling pitcher, but hardly the first.
In Kuroda’s first five starts of the season, he was 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA.
In Kuroda’s last five starts, he is 2-2 with a 6.20 ERA.
Same guy, very different results.
Against the Rockies on Saturday, he was almost unrecognizable from the pitcher who had looked liked the team’s much-desired ace to start the season.
His command was clearly lacking. His pitches were up. He had great trouble getting a first-pitch strike. He was unable to pitch out of jams.
He threw 81 pitches -- only 47 for strikes -- in just four-plus innings of work. And true, if Manny Ramirez makes a rather routine catch on Todd Helton’s foul ball in the first and Rafael Furcal strangely doesn’t unnecessarily fire a throw past James Loney for an error in the third, he could have escaped with much less damage.
But in his four innings, he gave up 10 hits, hit a batter and walked one. Five of the seven runs he allowed were earned. Sharp, he wasn’t.
Is it just a slump? Is he hurt? Just one of those things?
The Dodgers’ rotation is so thin -- they still can’t identify a fifth starter even after the unexpected emergence of John Ely has seemingly solidified one spot -- they can’t really afford for Kuroda to go south on them.
Kuroda has been the rotation’s veteran presence. At the moment, he’s become an unexpected uncertainty.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Starter Hiroki Kuroda, left, talks to pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and catcher A.J. Ellis after giving up two runs in the first inning of the Dodgers' 11-3 loss in Colorado on Saturday. Credit: Ed Andrieski / Associated Press.