After Robbie Ray (Seattle), who led the team rotation as the 2021 Cy Young Award winner, left the team, Toronto was in a situation where it needed to recruit a new pitcher. Instead of Ray, whose value has already soared in the market, the rotation was strengthened by recruiting right-hander Kevin Gausman and left-hander Yusei Kikuchi.온라인카지노
Gausman had clear expectations as a right-handed ace. He invested a total of $110 million over five years. Considering the team rotation situation, Kikuchi was a resource close to the 5th starter. Nevertheless, he spent a considerable amount of money, $36 million over three years, or an average of $12 million per year. There was a question mark as to “Is the investment suitable?”
Kikuchi, who entered the major league by signing with Seattle in 2019, appeared in 70 games over three years and recorded 15 wins, 24 losses, and an average ERA of 4.97. There was also criticism that his earned run average of close to 5 points and his annual average salary of $12 million did not go well together. However, Toronto saw Kikuchi’s so-called ‘high point’. As a left-handed pitcher, he had an outstanding ability to throw a fastball in the mid-90s. He expected that if only the control problem was corrected, he would obtain sufficient utility.
Ray was a player who had a strong pitch but was not free from ball control problems. Toronto was a team with experience in modifying such lays. Kikuchi also had problems in a similar spot, so he may have been confident that he could make good use of it. The fact that he performed well in the first half of 2021, his final season in Seattle, and was promoted to All-Star was also a consideration.
However, the first season did not meet expectations. He appeared in 32 games (20 as a starter), but only recorded 6 wins, 7 losses, and an ERA of 5.19. Because his contract was late, Toronto’s planned ‘Kikuchi Renovation Project’ did not materialize. His number of walks per 9 innings soared to 5.2. In the end, he experienced the humiliation of being pushed out of the starting rotation midway through the season. He ended up working out of the bullpen. It was not the performance he wanted when he signed the contract.
Kikuchi has been extremely diligent this season. Since spring training, the coaching staff has been praising him, saying he is in good condition. He took an early lead in the race for the 5th starting spot. There was even a positive review that Kikuchiro had solidified his place as the 5th starter without even having to watch until the end of the exhibition game. That’s how good he was.
This season’s performance was better than last year. He has 9 wins, 6 losses, and an ERA of 3.81 in 29 games. The number of walks per 9 innings was cut in half from 5.2 last year to 2.6 this year. He is attacking the strike zone more actively. In the process, there are more home runs, but it is impressive that he is free from pitch control issues and makes the most of his pitch.
However, Kikuchi, who was doing well, is also experiencing a crisis at the end of the season. Kikuchi only had 1 win and 1 loss in 5 games in August, but his ERA was good at 3.03. However, in 3 games in September, he has no wins, 2 losses, and an ERA of 5.52. In all of his last three games, he failed to last six innings. The number of walks is also increasing again. He needs just one more win to bring his total to 10, and he has yet to win since his ninth win on August 3. There were times when he didn’t have success, but his pitching in September was overall poor.
The slump of Kikuchi, who was once one of the best pitchers in the second half of the season, causes another concern for Toronto. Toronto is currently competing in the American League wild card race along with Texas. If he goes to the postseason, how he designs his starting rotation is also a concern.
The local media’s rough prediction was that while the pitching content of Gausman, Jose Berrios, and Chris Bassett was not that bad, Ryu Hyun-jin and Kikuchi would compete for one spot. However, unlike Ryu Hyun-jin, who recorded an ERA (2.93) in the 2-point range in eight games after returning from elbow surgery, Kikuchi has not performed well since September. If this continues, Ryu Hyun-jin, who has more experience in big games, is bound to get priority.
Even in the home series against Texas, the two players had mixed feelings. Unlike Ryu Hyun-jin, who started as a starter on the 13th, recorded a quality start (6 or more innings, 3 earned runs or less) despite the loss, Kikuchi, who started on the 14th, was prepared by allowing 6 runs, including two home runs, in 5 innings. Attention is being paid to whether Kikuchi will be able to finish the season at the desired point after escaping from the nine moves.