ARLINGTON, Texas -- All of Japan may be caught up in Tuesday night's pitching matchup, but Hiroki Kuroda isn't.
Either that, or he put on a heck of a poker face Monday in discussing his start against countryman Yu Darvish, the hard-throwing phenom signed by the Rangers in the offseason.
"This is not a one-on-one game," said Kuroda, 37. "It's the Rangers against the Yankees, and I'm going to do as much as possible so that our team's going to win."
The Rangers signed Darvish, 25, to a six-year, $60-million contract on top of a $51.7-million posting fee. Yankees scouts liked Darvish, 2-0 with a 3.57 ERA in three starts this season, but the organization was reluctant to commit that kind of money to an unknown.
Among the pitches Darvish throws is a mid-90s fastball, though one scout said the righthander's command has been "shaky since spring training."
Entering Tuesday, Darvish, whom Kuroda called "one of the greatest pitchers Japan has produced," has struck out 14 and walked 13 in 172/3 innings.
"You're curious what our hitters are going to do, how they're going to react to his stuff," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I'm curious."