Is the ‘nightmare’ of the 2021 season coming back to haunt us? Yusei Kikuchi (Toronto Blue Jays), the ‘$36 million man’, lasted less than five innings. He is now the most likely candidate to be dropped from the starting lineup when Hyun-jin Ryu returns.

Kikuchi started the 2023 Major League Baseball home opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday (July 17) at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and was charged with two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks (three walks and two strikeouts) over 4⅔ innings, throwing 89 pitches.

Kikuchi was on a roll in the first half of the 2021 season when he was named an All-Star, going 6-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 16 starts. However, he struggled mightily in his 13 post-All-Star starts, going 1-5 with a 5.98 ERA, and eventually finished the season with a 7-9 record and a 4.41 ERA.

This season has been a similar story to 2021. Kikuchi got off to a promising start, going 2-1 with a 0.87 ERA in seven exhibition games (six starts) after struggling mightily with his stuff last year, and then went 4-0 with a 3.00 ERA in five starts in April.

May saw a slight dip in performance, but he continued his hot streak with two wins and a 5.83 ERA, and June saw him go 1-0 with a 2.28 ERA in five starts, despite not having much luck with wins. However, he struggled in the second half of the month before the All-Star break, giving up five runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Boston Red Sox on July 2 and four runs (four earned) in five innings against the Chicago White Sox on July 7.

If you look at the stats, the outing doesn’t look like much of a problem, but the process was close to the worst. Kikuchi seemed to get off to a good start, quickly racking up two outs in the first inning. However, he gave up a hard-hit ball to Rueredes Gurriel Jr. and a walk to Christian Walker to put runners on first and second. Here’s where the worst happened.

Kikuchi threw a grounder to try to tie up the second baseman’s feet, but it was headed in a direction that the second baseman couldn’t catch. The second baseman, Gurriel Jr. didn’t miss Kikuchi’s mistake and sprinted home after stepping on the third base bag. Kikuchi ended up getting Evan Longoria at the plate to pop out to end the inning, but the good fortune would prove to be a costly error.바카라사이트

In the second inning, Kikuchi got two quick outs before the run came. With the bases loaded, Kikuchi gave up a double to Nick Ahmed and then a stolen base to put runners on second and third. Kikuchi started to falter again, and after giving up a ball to Jake McCarthy, Kikuchi self-destructed again.

With runners on first and third, Kikuchi battled Ketel Marte, but the catcher, Danny Jensen, threw a hard-hit ball that turned into a wild pitch. Kikuchi dropped into base coverage to try and stop the runner from sprinting home, but Jensen’s throw was too far out of bounds, resulting in an unearned run. Unable to settle down, Kikuchi walked Marte to load the bases.

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