Dodgers Hate Kuroda, Withhold Run Support

Originally published on LAist on July 27, 2011

The Dodgers hate Hiroki Kuroda. After all, how else can one explain the lack of run support Kuroda this season?

“I think it’s him being unlucky,” Dodgers’ Manager Don Mattingly said directing the propaganda. If “unlucky” means “unworthy of getting any runs from us,” then that quote is spot on.

Coming into the game the Dodgers scored an average of 2.9 runs per games that Kuroda has started. Only the San Diego Padres’ Dustin Moseley has worse run support in the National League among pitchers who have started at least 13 games. As a comparison Chad Billingsley has 4.4 runs of support per game, Clayton Kershaw has 4.2, Ted Lilly has 4.1 and Rubby De La Rosa has 3.7.

“When I was stretching I was looking at his record,” Kemp said conspiratorially. “He should have a better record than that. We should score some runs for him. We just haven’t done it when he pitched.”

They keep saying that, but the story never changes. Like a broken record it happened again Wednesday night. While Kuroda’s six innings might not have been the most stellar pitching performance of the season, he limited the six hits and three walks to only one run.

But by dropping his earned run average to 3.11, just outside the top ten for starters in the National League, it still wasn’t enough to get him the win. With only Rod Barajas’ solo shot in the ninth inning as support, Kuroda’s record fell to 6-13 as the Dodgers lost 3-1.

“You do feel bad for him,” Mattingly said. “He does exactly what we ask him to do. He’s doing his job every time out.”

Of course the last three times out were speculation that each game would be his last.

“I really haven’t decided anything,” Kuroda said through translator Kenji Nimura. It’s a sentiment he repeated to reporters after the game despite the animosity shown to him by his teammates in the guise of run support.

“My honest feeling right now is I cannot fathom thinking about wearing another uniform.”

To be truthful there is no animosity in the clubhouse. In fact there is a lot of camaraderie amongst the players, and the thought of a play leaving is hard on them.

“I know it is part of the business,” Mattingly said. “Anybody that would have him would know that this kind of guy is going to keep them in every game.

“But you’d hate to lose one of your guys from the standpoint that he’s been here for four years and pitched really well for us. You really want what’s best for him more than anything.”

Despite how taxing all the trade talk can be for Kuroda, getting no support still tops the frustration list for him.

“Every time you go on the mound you go out there to win. So it’s frustrating and disappointing each time you lose. I’ve now experienced that disappointment 13 times already this season, so I think this is more frustrating.”