Toronto Blue Jays Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi (32) turned on the green light for the 5th starter competition.
Kikuchi started on the 2nd (Korean time) in an exhibition game against the Baltimore Orioles in the ‘2023 Major League Baseball’ held at Ed Smith Stadium in Florida, USA. On this day, he recorded no run in 2 innings, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts. He showed perfect pitching in two consecutive games, and Kikuchi increased his chances of joining the starting rotation.
He played short innings, but finished the game without any particular crisis. Kikuchi got off to a fresh start by striking out leadoff batter Cedric Mullins in the first inning. He ended the inning by batting out all subsequent batters.메이저사이트
In the second inning, the first batter, Ramon Urias, allowed a walk. However, he finished the mound by striking out Austin Hays, flying Adam Frazier to second base, and handling a grounder to shortstop James McCann.
On this day, Kikuchi showed off better control than before. He logged 30 pitches, 20 of which landed in the strike zone. Even last season, Kikuchi couldn’t overcome the 9th pitch. However, in this year’s demonstration game, it’s a different look. Earlier, on the 27th against the San Diego Padres, Kikuchi pitched two scoreless innings.
After the game against Baltimore, Kikuchi said in an interview with the local media, “I’m pitching with confidence and confidence on the mound. The process of preparing for the season is going smoothly.”
Kikuchi is in his second year in Toronto. He joined Toronto after signing a three-year, $36 million contract ahead of last season, but he didn’t perform very well. He struggled in every game because his chronic command was not caught. He started as a starter, but was relegated to the bullpen during the season. Kikuchi finished his first season with Toronto with a 5.19 earned run average with 6 wins, 7 losses and 1 save in 32 games.
It seems to be overcoming the control problem little by little. As days of hard fighting continue, Kikuchi is also recovering his confidence. If he continues his momentum, he can also look at joining the starting rotation.