With the Toronto Blue Jays’ “Korean Monster” Ryu Hyun-jin (36) on the verge of returning to the major leagues, Yusei Kikuchi (32) seems to have been encouraged by another successful rehab start. Although he didn’t add to the win column, he proved his worth.
Kikuchi started the 2023 Major League Baseball game against the Seattle Mariners on April 22 at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Washington, USA, and pitched 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts and no walks.
However, the bullpen blew the game, leaving him without a win. The team fell to 2-3.
Kikuchi, who signed a three-year, $36 million contract with Toronto before last season, has established himself as a mainstay in Toronto’s starting rotation this year.스포츠토토
Most notably, he pitched seven innings of one-run ball against the Oakland Athletics on June 26 to earn his seventh win. Kikuchi, who went 7-9 with the Seattle Mariners in 2021, tied his most wins in a season in two years. It was his first seven-inning start since joining the organization.
However, he hasn’t had a winning season since then. He hasn’t added a win since July. The last two games of the first half of the season saw him give up fewer runs, and today was no different. His July record is 1-4 with a 4.66 ERA.
Encouragingly, though, he improved his value on the day, touching 96.9 mph (156 km/h).
Meanwhile, Hyun-jin Ryu made what was effectively his final rehab start at Triple-A. He pitched six innings, allowing two runs on three hits with one walk and five strikeouts. He was hit by two home runs on the day, but the team won 4-2 and picked up their second win.
According to Thomas Hall, a reporter for Blue Jays Nation, a Toronto outlet, Ryu’s fastball topped out at 90.6 mph (146.1 km/h) and averaged 88.4 mph (142.2 km/h). He threw 85 pitches.
Kikuchi’s performance is interesting because Ryu is on the verge of returning. Toronto now has a full five-man rotation with Kikuchi, Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios, Chris Bassett, and Alec Manoa.
The return of Hyun-Jin Ryu is not expected to change Kikuchi’s status. “Kikuchi deserves to stay in the Toronto starting rotation even when Ryu returns,” Hall said. “He proved a lot against Seattle,” Hall said, “and a sixth starter is the right choice, especially with a 17-game homestand on the horizon.” He expects Kikuchi to remain in the rotation.