There has been no place like home for Hiroki Kuroda this season. And Joe Girardi hopes it remains that way for at least a few more October starts, beginning with Game 3 of the Yanks' AL division series Wednesday night in the Bronx.

"He seems to do very well at our ballpark," Girardi said. "He seems to know how to pitch to our ballpark, and that could have something to do with it, but he's been very good at home. It's one of the reasons that we talked about him pitching at home."

There is a striking difference between the Kuroda the Yankees have seen at home and the one that has struggled somewhat away from the Bronx, one that clearly shows the 37-year-old righty likes sleeping in his own bed.

How striking, you ask? In 19 home starts this season, Kuroda has gone 11-6 with a 2.72 ERA. Opposing hitters have been overmatched against Kuroda in the Bronx, batting .219. On the road Kuroda has been nothing more than mediocre — 5-5 in 14 starts with a 4.23 ERA. Opposing batters have hit .292 away from the Stadium.

But Kuroda, who will get the start Wednesday night against rookie Miguel Gonzalez, can't put his finger on why there is such a disparity but does give some credit to Yankee fans, who should be in full throat for this game.

"One of the biggest things are the fans; they really motivate me during the game," Kuroda said.

Kuroda will come into the game having not pitched since the Bombers' 14-2 pasting of the Red Sox on Oct. 3, the final day of the regular season. Girardi said the extra rest for Kuroda, who threw a career-high 219.2 innings this season, can only be a benefit.

"We've seen he's been pretty good on extra rest the times that he's won on his sixth day and I know it's his seventh day here," Girardi said. "But we've seen with the innings that he's logged that this will be beneficial for him. When you look at his statistics, this is the most innings he's thrown in a long time. So I think it will be beneficial."

Kuroda said his career-high workload isn't going to be a factor. "I really haven't thought anything about that," Kuroda said. "I don't really feel fatigued. I don't think I can afford to think like that because I always prepare myself for the next game and that's what I'm doing right now. So I'm just going to do my best and pitch my best game possible."