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GDB 52.0: Yusei Kikuchi looks to continute great season for Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays Yusei Kikuchi
Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
21 days ago
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It’s bump day for Yusei Kikuchi, and hopefully, one where he gets to enjoy a nice sip of whisky afterwards.
The lefty’s first season in Toronto didn’t go well in 2022, so much so that the starter was pitching out of the bullpen at times during the year. But he bounced back with a strong 2023 season in which he posted a 3.86 ERA.
This year, however, he’s gotten even better. His 2.64 ERA leads all Blue Jays starters, as does his sparkling 2.6 FIP. While he allows a moderate number of base runners, 1.121 per inning by way of walk or hit, his ability to get out of jams and limit damage has been key. Kikuchi’s continued success has helped anchor a rotation where he’s the only left-handed pitcher.
He’ll have a more than favourable matchup this morning, taking on a Detroit Tigers team that has posted a .272 wOBA and 74 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers this season, both being the third-worst rate among all major league teams.
Despite that, the Jays have offered Kikuchi little run support this season, scoring a measly 2.48 runs per nine innings with him on the mound — the second-fewest among all qualified pitchers this season. That’s not a good omen considering Toronto’s inability to get to Reese Olson Saturday and the fact that the Blue Jays’ struggles at the plate have been vast this season.
The Blue Jays will see Casey Mize on the mound for the Tigers, who has posted a 4.57 ERA and 3.79 FIP this season.

First pitch: 11:35 a.m. EST.
TV & Radio: Sportsnet, SN590.

Starting pitchers:

NameTeamGS
W
L
IP
ERA
xERA
ERA-
FIP
WHIP
K/9
BB/9
Yusei KikuchiTOR102458.02.642.67682.601.129.472.02
Casey MizeDET91345.14.574.271163.791.356.751.99

Lineups:


BLUE JAYS:
  1. D Schneider (R) LF
  2. D Jansen (R) C
  3. V Guerrero Jr. (R) 1B
  4. B Bichette (R) SS
  5. D Vogelbach (L) DH
  6. D Varsho (L) CF
  7. I Kiner-Falefa (R) 2B
  8. E Clement (R) 3B
  9. C Biggio (L) RF

TIGERS:
  1. M Vierling (R) CF
  2. A Ibáñez (R) 2B
  3. M Canha (R) LF
  4. G Urshela (R) 3B
  5. C Kelly (R) DH
  6. S Torkelson (R) 1B
  7. W Pérez (S) RF
  8. J Báez (R) SS
  9. J Rogers (R) C

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Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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