Derek Jeter’s farewell tour got off to a rocky start.
An improved performance on the mound could go a long way for the New York Yankees.
Hiroki Kuroda will try to continue his dominance of the Houston Astros on Wednesday night and help the Yankees avoid a third consecutive 0-2 start.
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New York was pounded early in Tuesday’s season opener, as CC Sabathia surrendered six runs and six hits – two homers – in the first two innings of a 6-2 loss at Houston.
Jeter’s final season also started dubiously, as he was hit on the left arm by a pitch from Scott Feldman in his first plate appearance before finishing 1 for 3 with a run.
The Yankees icon announced in February he will retire after this season after left ankle surgery and other injuries limited him to 17 games last year.
"Trying to get your first win, your first hit, your first run, anything is kind of difficult to do," Jeter said. "The first, sometimes, is tough to come by.
"I was a little extra anxious because I hadn’t played in a while, but when I got hit, I think that actually helped."
Jeter has five hits with one homer and three RBIs in four road meetings with Houston.
Kuroda, however, has utterly dominated the Astros.
The right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.39 ERA in eight career starts against them and carries a 22-inning shutout streak versus the Astros into this start. Kuroda fanned eight over seven innings in the most recent meeting, a 7-4 win April 30.
That was part of Kuroda’s first 24 starts of last season, going 11-7 with a 2.33 ERA. However, he faltered down the stretch, going 0-6 with a 6.56 ERA in his final eight.
He showed some promise of getting off to a strong start this year – striking out 12 in 11 1-3 innings over four games in spring training – and the six runs he allowed all came in one start.
Kuroda, though, will be dealing with a Houston team looking for another big performance at the plate.
The Astros had two homers and two doubles among their nine hits while winning their season opener for the second straight year. They followed last year’s start with a six-game losing streak, during which they batted .188 with nine runs.
"This entire spring leading up to opening day we built that vibe up where these guys are confident, they’re playing with a lot of energy, focus," manager Bo Porter said. "The attention to detail is outstanding. Everybody wants to get out to a good start."
Houston is surely hoping Dexter Fowler can help prevent that from happening again. The center fielder and leadoff hitter had two doubles with two runs Tuesday after being acquired in a trade with Colorado in December.
Jarred Cosart is expected to get the ball as he starts what’s expected to be his first full season in the majors.
The right-hander, who is facing the Yankees for the first time, went 1-1 with a 1.95 ERA in 10 starts as a rookie last year despite finishing with more walks (35) than strikeouts (33). The 23-year-old, though, did allow two or fewer runs while pitching at least six innings in six of those outings.
"For me, you look at what Jarred Cosart was able to do last year, I was pretty comfortable with him being one of the guys who was going to be in our rotation," Porter told the team’s official website.
Cosart fanned nine in five scoreless innings versus Washington in his final spring outing.