After getting blasted in Tampa Bay, New York Yankees ace Hiroki Kuroda is no longer a Cy Young award candidate.!/httpImage/image.JPG_gen/derivatives/display_600/image.JPG

For a change, Hiroki Kuroda failed the Yankees.

Struggling New York Yankees ace Hiroki Kuroda surrendered seven runs over six innings in a 7-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.

Managing to keep the ball in the park since June 30, the 38-year-old Kuroda (11-9, 2.71 ERA) yielded four homers to Tampa Bay’s lineup.

Now owning only the fourth smallest ERA amongst American League starters, the Japanese sensation is no longer a legitimate threat to overtake Max Scherzer or Felix Hernandez for the Cy Young award.

Regardless, having clearly supplanted Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia as New York’s stopper, Kuroda remains one of the primary reasons the Yankees (68-60) have survived and sit a mere 3.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics and Rays in the Wild Card standings.

Robbed of being an All-Star, Kuroda is now 68-65 with a 3.27 ERA since debuting as a Los Angeles Dodger on April 4, 2008.

If New York somehow slithers into the playoffs, the Yankees’ fortunes will greatly hinge on the veteran’s right arm.

Nevertheless, before even considering October, Hiroki Kuroda needs to stifle the Blue Jays’ lineup Wednesday in Toronto.

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