After somewhat of an inconsistent spring, Hiroki Kuroda finally made his official MLB debut tonight.
No, really… big time.
Kuroda, in his debut, put up the following stat line: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, along with 9 groundouts and 8 flyouts. The most awesome part of the start? It only took him 77 pitches to put up those numbers. 77! I haven’t seen a Dodger pitch that efficiently since the Maddux game against the Giants in August of 2006 when he threw 68 over 8 IP. Actually, throughout the start tonight, that’s who Kuroda kept reminding me of, with his efficiency; the difference being, of course, that Hiroki has velocity. He kept pounding the zone with strike after strike and the efficiency is probably what surprised me the most. As I said when the Dodgers signed him, generally speaking, one of the issues that tend to plague Japanese pitchers making the transition to the U.S. is control, and thus they tend to give up a lot of walks (i.e. Matsuzaka, Igawa, Ishii, Nomo, etc.).
Outside of the fastball down the pipe that Giles hit for a HR, he was just dominating the Padres’ “offense.” While I try to avoid spewing hyperbole after one start, especially against SD’s offense, his stuff was electric and if he can pitch a semblance of how he did tonight more times than not this year, the Dodgers will have a lot more than just a typical 4th starter.
Great debut, Hiroki, and God Bless Logan White.
Oh yeah… we won!