“The scenery seen from dugout is a scenery I often saw in Japan.”
Japanese major leaguer Yusei Kikuchi (32, Toronto Blue Jays) expressed his impressions of facing his junior Senga Godai (30, New York Mets).
On the 5th (Korean time), Kikuchi and Senga faced off as starting pitchers for both teams in the ‘2023 Major League Baseball’ confrontation between Toronto and the Mets held at Citi Field in Flushing, New York, USA.메이저놀이터
It was the 17th starting match against Japanese major leaguers. The result was a landslide victory for his senior, Kikuchi. After one out in the bottom of the 3rd inning when the team was leading 4-0, Kikuchi was hit by a solo shot by Tommy Pam, giving the team a 4-1 lead. After two outs in the bottom of the 5th inning, he once again allowed Pam a solo home run, conceding an additional run to 4-2. The final score is 5 innings, 4 hits (2 home runs), 1 walk, 8 strikeouts and 2 runs.
▲ Yusei Kikuchi, who pitched relatively well with 2 runs in 5 innings, but did not become a winning pitcher
Senga, on the other hand, was sluggish. He failed to fill the third inning and came down the mound, bowing his head. In the beginning of the 2nd inning, when the 0-0 tight match continued, Whit Merrifield hit a double with 2 RBIs at 1st and 2nd base, making it 0-2.
After one shot in the top of the 3rd inning, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a solo shot, and catcher Francisco Alvarez, who was trying to catch a runner who was running from 2nd to 3rd base with 2nd out, allowed a score due to a throwing error, widening the score to 0-4. In the match with the follow-up hitter Merrifield, he was replaced after allowing a walk. The final score shook with 2⅔innings, 4 hits (1 home run), 5 walks, 3 strikeouts, 4 runs (3 earned runs).
▲ Senga (left) was completely defeated in the 17th major league match against Japanese pitchers
After the match, Kikuchi revealed his impressions of the match against his junior, Sengawa, in an interview with Japanese local media ‘Sports Nippon’. He expressed his feelings, “The scenery seen from the dugout is a scenery I have often seen in Japan. I missed it. Personally, I enjoyed it. I threw it thinking that I was grateful (for this opportunity).”
In fact, on August 27, 2019, Kikuchi played against Masahiro Tanaka (35, Rakuten Golden Eagles), who was playing for the New York Yankees at the time, as a member of Seattle.
Recalling that time, Kikuchi explained, “(In the face-to-face matchup with Japanese pitchers), I have more time to enjoy rather than pressure, and I have come up with a way to prepare.
This season, Kikuchi recorded 12 games, 6 wins, 2 losses, 61⅓ innings, an average ERA of 4.40, 60 strikeouts and a WHIP (on-base percentage per inning) of 1.37. He recorded an average ERA of 3.00 in 27 innings in April, right after the opening, but last month it was somewhat shaken with an ERA of 5.83 in 29⅓ innings.
Kikuchi said, “The beginning of the season was good, but the last 3 or 4 games were not good. I think today’s mound was good because I made a change there.” After that, I think the home run hit by Pam was a big one. Personally, of course, I wanted to get on the mound.”