Before the start of the season, it looked like he was going to be a long shot to make the postseason. But he’s exceeded expectations on the mound. Toronto Blue Jays Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi has pitched well.
Kikuchi started a home game against the Kansas City Royals in the 2023 Major League Baseball World Series at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Monday (Sept. 9). He allowed one run on three hits and one walk over five innings, while striking out eight. Although the silence of the bats and bullpen fire prevented him from getting the win, Kikuchi was up to the task.
Except for the third inning, Kikuchi didn’t allow a run. He threw a five-pitch, 84-mph curveball to Dairon Blanco with two balls and two strikes. Kikuchi kept it low and away from the body, but Blanco scooped it up for a solo shot to left field.
But Kikuchi would not be rattled. He got through the fifth inning without allowing another run. The offense was unable to score while Kikuchi was on the mound, but in the sixth, Kevin Kiermaier hit a triple and Bo Bissett followed with an RBI double to tie the game. Kikuchi had to settle for the loss.
Kikuchi’s record this season is 9-5 with a 3.57 ERA in 28 games and 148⅔ innings pitched. He has the second-most games pitched and the second-best ERA of any Toronto starter. He is second in wins and has the fewest losses. Kikuchi has been a steady presence on the Toronto mound.
In fact, not many people expected Kikuchi to perform well in the opening game. In fact, few expected him to be a liability going into the season. As local media outlet CBS Sports put it, “Kikuchi needs to perform. If they don’t, they’ll be out of the postseason,” while MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, called for a rebound, saying, “Kikuchi is a huge question mark for Toronto.
Kikuchi’s performance last year was not good. Ahead of the 2022 season, Kikuchi signed a three-year, $36 million contract with Toronto. However, he was unable to overcome his struggles with his velocity and earned a failing grade as a starter. He was even removed from the starting rotation during the season. In 32 games, Kikuchi finished with a dismal 6-7 record, one save, and a 5.19 ERA.
However, Kikuchi worked hard in the offseason to rebound, and he looked different in the exhibition games. In seven games and 20⅔ innings, he went 2-1 with a 0.87 ERA. Kikuchi carried his momentum from the exhibition games into the regular season, and he’s been a big part of Toronto’s postseason push.온라인카지노
Japanese media outlet Junichi Sports reported on Monday that “Kikuchi had an ace-like performance. He struck out 15 batters, eight of them for strikes. His fastball and slider were sharp. Martinez’s commentary on Sportsnet, the U.S. broadcaster, also said, “Kikuchi’s slider is working. It’s one of the best in the majors.”
Kikuchi has become indispensable to Toronto. He was expected to drop out of the starting rotation when Ryu Hyun-jin returned, but he survived. He’s still pitching well and doing his job. Toronto is smiling at Kikuchi, too.