Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi (32, Toronto Blue Jays) 메이저사이트is making an impressive performance in the early stages of the demonstration game. However, the response of local media in Toronto is rather cold.
Kikuchi took the mound as a starting pitcher in the 2023 Major League exhibition game against Pittsburgh held at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida, on the 8th (Korean time), recording no runs with 3 no hits, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts in 3 innings.
He was a pitch that was close to perfect within the game as 30 out of a total of 51 pitches were judged as strikes. Kikuchi, who is competing for the 5th start this season, is recording 7 innings with 1 hit, 3 walks and 9 strikeouts while pitching 3 consecutive scoreless games. Pete Walker, Toronto pitching coach, praised Kikuchi, saying, “So far, Kikuchi has been showing good form and doing everything he can. I look forward to maintaining this form in a little longer innings in the future.”
However, the Canadian media Toronto Sun, which reported this news, took a neutral stance, saying, “Coach Walker doesn’t want (fans) to go crazy over Kikuchi’s smooth and efficient pitching. But it’s hard not to believe what Kikuchi has shown for weeks.” came up with
The reason is because of the past history that has not been reliable. As a lefty who throws a fastball with an average speed of 95 mph (about 152.8 km) and a high-speed slider of 86.5 mph (about 139 km), Kikuchi has received a lot of expectations since entering the major leagues in 2019. However, he has recorded 21 wins and 31 losses in 102 games in his career and an earned run average of 5.02, and he has not yet established himself in his fifth year in the major leagues. Toronto gave Kikuchi a three-year, $36 million contract last year, but eventually lowered expectations by demoting him to the bullpen mid-season.
The Toronto Sun said, “Kikuchi has been impressive so far, but the need for a warning remains,” and “it’s just spring camp after all, and I have vivid memories of his struggles physically and mentally last season.”