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Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi: Sharp beginning to spring
Kikuchi gave up one hit and struck out three batters over two scoreless innings in Monday's Grapefruit League game against the Pirates.
The southpaw tossed 19 of 30 pitches for strikes. Kikuchi is coming off his best MLB season to date, posting a 3.86 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 181:48 K:BB through 167.2 innings in 2023, but per Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic, he's looking to take another step forward by ditching his splitter for a circle change, a pitch that should have more separation from his mid-90s fastball. "His delivery was awesome, stuff was really good, too," Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Monday's game. "Changeup's going to be a big pitch for him - especially against those righties. I thought everything that he set out to do today, he did. Fastball command was there, slider was sharp - really, really good first outing for him."... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi: Cruises to 11th win
Kikuchi (11-6) picked up the win Friday, giving up three runs on five hits and two walks over five-plus innings in an 11-4 victory over the Rays. He struck out four.
The southpaw blanked Tampa for five innings before fading in the sixth and giving up three straight extra-base hits to open the frame, but the Jays were already up 8-0 at that point. Kikuchi stumbles into a likely postseason run -- Toronto needs just one more win, or a Seattle loss, to clinch a wild-card spot -- with a 5.02 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and 35:10 K:BB through 28.2 innings in September.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi: Goes four innings vs. Tampa
Kikuchi did not factor into the decision Sunday, allowing three runs on nine hits over four innings against Tampa Bay. He struck out seven.
Kikuchi's now gone five straight starts without pitching more than five innings. He appeared to be on a short leash Sunday, throwing just 73 pitches, after departing his previous start against the Yankees with cramps. Kikuchi will carry a 10-6 record with a 3.82 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 177 strikeouts into his final start of the regular season, tentatively scheduled as a rematch next weekend with the Rays.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi: Lined up for Sunday
Kikuchi (neck) is scheduled to start Sunday's game at Tampa Bay, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports.
Kikuchi made an early exit from his last start Tuesday against the Yankees because of a left upper trap muscle cramp, but it was never much of a concern and he'll stay on turn this weekend versus the Rays. The 32-year-old left-hander holds a solid 3.74 ERA and 170:46 K:BB in 158.2 innings (30 starts) this season with Toronto.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi: Removed due to cramp
Kikuchi was removed from Tuesday's 7-1 win over the Yankees with a left upper trap muscle cramp, Hazel Mae of Sportsnet reports.
Kikuchi (10-6) was able to pick up the win after striking out seven through five innings of one-run ball before the cramp forced him out of the game. The southpaw's status for his next start -- tentatively scheduled for Sunday in Tampa Bay -- remains up in the air, and he should be considered day-to-day until more details are provided.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi: Sharp in no-decision
Kikuchi came away with a no-decision Friday in the Blue Jays' 5-4 win over the Royals, allowing one run on three hits and a walk over five innings. He struck out eight.
The southpaw hasn't picked up a win in over a month, but he pitched well enough Friday, generating 32 called or swinging strikes on 88 pitches. During his winless streak, Kikuchi has posted a 3.24 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 41:9 K:BB through 33.1 innings, so his luck figures to turn at some point. He's next set to take the mound at home next week against the Rangers.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi: Takes fifth loss
Kikuchi (9-5) allowed six runs (two earned) on six hits and four walks while striking out six over 4.2 innings, taking the loss versus the Rockies on Saturday.
After a five-start stretch of allowing one run or fewer, Kikuchi has been tagged for 13 runs (nine earned) over his last 15.1 innings. The Blue Jays' defense didn't do him any favors Saturday, as a pair of Ernie Clement errors at shortstop led to four of the Rockies' runs. Kikuchi is now at a 3.63 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 152:42 K:BB through 143.2 innings through 27 starts this season. His ratios are still the best he's posted in his five-year career. Kikuchi is lined up for a favorable home start versus the Royals next week.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi: Allows four runs in no-decision
Kikuchi did not factor into the decision Sunday, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks over six innings against the Guardians. He struck out eight.
Kikuchi allowed two runs in the fourth and two more in the sixth to earn the no-decision. The Blue Jays took the lead in the bottom of the sixth to give Kikuchi a chance to earn his 10th victory, but they then gave up the lead in the eighth and later lost in extras. Kikuchi has allowed seven runs over his past two outings but has otherwise been outstanding of late, maintaining a 2.36 ERA with 50 strikeouts spanning 45.2 innings over his past eight starts.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi: Goes 4.2 innings in no-decision
Kikuchi did not factor into the decision Tuesday, allowing three runs on seven hits and one walk over 4.2 innings in a 6-3 victory over the Orioles. He struck out six.
After allowing a run in the opening frame, Kikuchi delivered three scoreless frames before running into trouble in the fifth, allowing two more runs before he was pulled after throwing 82 pitches. It marks the first time Kikuchi allowed more than one run in a start since July 6 -- he'd worked to a 1.29 ERA over his prior six outings (35 innings). Overall, the 32-year-old left-hander is 9-4 with a 3.52 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 138:36 K:BB across 25 starts (133 innings) this season. Kikuchi is tentatively lined up for a home matchup with the Guardians this weekend.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi: Fourth straight quality start
Kikuchi came away with a no-decision Tuesday in the Blue Jays' 2-1 win over the Phillies, allowing one run on four hits over six innings. He struck out seven without walking a batter.
The southpaw delivered his fourth straight quality start on an efficient 84 pitches (58 strikes), but Zack Wheeler was just as sharp for Philadelphia, leaving the bullpens to decide things. Since the All-Star break, Kikuchi has a stellar 1.29 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 36:8 K:BB through 35 innings. He's next set to take the mound on the road early next week against the Orioles.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi: Takes tough-luck loss
Kikuchi (9-4) took the loss Tuesday, allowing one run on three hits and one walk over seven innings against Cleveland. He struck out six.
Kikuchi was magnificent Tuesday, earning his third consecutive quality start. The 32-year-old's sole blemish came in the second inning, when Oscar Gonzalez reached on an infield single and scored on a Ramon Laureano double. Kikuchi then retired 16 of the final 18 batters he faced; however, he didn't receive any run support and was tagged with an unfortunate loss. The southpaw has been lights-out in five outings since the All-Star break, boasting a 1.24 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 29:8 K:BB across 29 innings during that stretch. Kikuchi will look to get back in the win column in his next start, which is projected to take place at home versus the Cubs over the weekend.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi: Sharp in ninth win
Kikuchi (9-3) picked up the win in Wednesday's 4-1 victory over the Orioles, allowing one run on six hits and a walk over six innings. He struck out three.
The southpaw tossed 60 of 91 pitches for strikes in his second straight quality start. Kikuchi has an impressive 1.23 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 23:7 K:BB through 22 innings since the All-Star break, and his current form should allow him to retain a rotation spot even after Toronto cuts back down to a five-man unit later this month. He'll try to stay efficient and effective in his next outing, likely to come early next week in Cleveland.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi: Fans eight in eighth win
Kikuchi (8-3) picked up the win Wednesday, allowing one run on seven hits and two walks over six innings in an 8-1 victory over the Dodgers. He struck out eight.
The southpaw delivered his first quality start since June 25 while generating an impressive 33 called or swinging strikes among his 103 pitches. Kikuchi wraps up July with a 3.91 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and 31:8 K:BB through 25.1 innings on the month, and he'll need to keep pitching well if he wants to hang onto his rotation spot with Hyun Jin Ryu (elbow) on the verge of making his 2023 debut.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi: Strong start goes to waste
Kikuchi allowed five hits and a walk while striking out eight over 5.1 scoreless innings in a no-decision versus the Mariners on Friday.
Kikuchi pitched into the sixth inning for the first time in four July starts, and he delivered his third scoreless effort of the season. While he's had some struggles this year, the Blue Jays' bullpen was responsible for this loss. Kikuchi is now at a reasonable 3.92 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 108:31 K:BB over 103.1 innings through 20 starts. He's projected for a home start versus the Angels his next time out, though Kikuchi could be bumped up to a take a road start versus the Dodgers if Hyun Jin Ryu (elbow) needs one more rehab start.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi: Lacks command in brief start
Kikuchi did not factor into the decision Sunday, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits and three walks over 4.2 innings against the Diamondbacks. He struck out four.
Though Kikuchi only allowed two hits, he continuously put himself in difficult situations, walking three batters and hitting two others during 4.1 innings of work. The first run against Kikuchi came on an errant pickoff attempt that allowed Lourdes Gurriel to score in the first frame, while the second run came on a wild pitch that plated Nick Ahmed in the third. Kikuchi's lack of control was uncharacteristic, as he hadn't walked more than two batters in six straight appearances and had only hit one batter leading up to Sunday's outing. Kikuchi will look to regain his command in his next projected start, which is lined up to come against the Mariners at T-Mobile Park.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi: Yields four runs in no-decision
Kikuchi allowed four runs on eight hits and no walks while striking out four batters over five innings in a no-decision against the White Sox in Game 2 of Thursday's doubleheader.
Kikuchi displayed solid control (he threw 53 of 76 pitches for a strike) and racked up 14 whiffs, but he lasted just five frames. A third-inning two-run homer by Eloy Jimenez accounted for half the overall damage against the southpaw, who has given up nine runs over 9.1 innings through two starts in July. That follows what had looked to be a breakout month of June during which Kikuchi posted a 2.28 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 33:6 K:BB across 27.2 frames.... See More ... See Less
Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi: Tagged for five runs in loss
Kikuchi (7-3) took the loss Saturday, allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks over 4.1 innings against Boston. He struck out seven.
Kikuchi was first victimized by a two-run home run from Rafael Devers in the top of the third to put the Blue Jays down 2-1. He would again run into trouble in the fifth after giving up a leadoff single to Rob Refsnyder, surrendering another three runs in the inning on four hits as Boston added to its lead. It marked the lefty's first loss since May 24 against the Rays, which was also the last time he allowed five runs in a start this season. Kikuchi had made it through at least six innings in each of his previous two starts and now sports a 40:8 K:BB since the start of June following his seven-strikeout performance.... See More ... See Less
|HT/WT: 6-0, 210 lbs
|Birthplace: Morioka, Japan
|Bats/Throws: L, L