Hiroki Kuroda is scheduled to start Wednesday night's regular season finale against the Red Sox, potentially the most important game of his brief Yankees career as they try to avoid a matchup in Baltimore for the AL East crown.

"My focus is on helping the team win, rather than thinking of it like a playoff game," Kuroda said through a translator before the Yankees held on to their one-game lead with a 4-3, 12-inning win over the Red Sox in The Bronx, while the Orioles knocked off the Rays.

Kuroda made it clear that while he is eager to take the mound, the right-hander won't have fun.

"I've never enjoyed playing baseball; never enjoyed pitching, to be honest with you," Kuroda said. "Whether it's a spring training game, a regular season game, I put pressure on myself to be as normal as I can."

And while others may relish this type of situation, Kuroda believes there is too much at stake.

"I'm not saying this because I'm with the Yankees," Kuroda said. "This has been all throughout my professional career. There's a lot of responsibility as a starting pitcher, so rather than enjoy myself out there, I feel like I have to fulfill my responsibilities and that's my priority."

That will be especially true tonight.

He already has won a career-high 15 games and logged a career-high 212 ²/3 innings this season.