“A scene I’ve often seen in Japan”…Kikuchi on facing the ‘junior’ Senga.

“The view from the dugout is something I’ve seen a lot in Japan.”

Japanese major leaguer Yusei Kikuchi (32, Toronto Blue Jays) talks about what it’s like to play against his younger counterpart, Godai Senga (30, New York Mets).

Kikuchi and Senga went head-to-head as starting pitchers for their respective teams in the 2023 Major League Baseball game between Toronto and the Mets at Citi Field in Flushing, N.Y., on Friday (June 5).

It was the 17th head-to-head start of the Japanese major leaguer’s career. The result was a dominant win for the senior. Kikuchi gave up a solo shot to Tommy Pham in the bottom of the third inning to give his team a 4-0 lead. Two batters later in the fifth inning, he gave up another solo home run, this time to Pham, to cut the lead to 4-2. His final line was five innings, four hits (two home runs), one walk, eight strikeouts and two runs.

Senga, on the other hand, struggled. He didn’t make it out of the third inning and hung his head as he walked off the mound. With the score tied 0-0 in the top of the second, he gave up a two-run double to Whit Merrifield with runners on first and second to make it 0-2.

One out later in the inning, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. gave up a solo shot to center field, and a throwing error by catcher Francisco Alvarez on a runner running from second to third allowed him to score to make it 4-0. He was removed from the game after allowing a walk in the next at-bat against Merrifield. His final line was 2⅔ innings, four hits (one home run), five walks, three strikeouts and four runs (three earned).

Kikuchi spoke to local Japanese media outlet Sports Nippon after the game about how he felt about starting against the junior Senga. “The view from the dugout is something I’ve seen a lot in Japan, and I’ve been missing it. Personally, I enjoyed it, and I threw with gratitude for (the opportunity).”

In fact, Kikuchi had previously faced Masahiro Tanaka (35-Rakuten Golden Eagles), who was playing for the New York Yankees at the time, as a member of Seattle on August 27, 2019.

Kikuchi recalls, “I have more time to enjoy (facing a Japanese pitcher) rather than being pressured, and I have a way to prepare. Maybe it’s because I’ve been in the U.S. for five years that I’ve been able to relax.”

This season, Kikuchi is 6-2 with a 4.40 ERA, 60 strikeouts and a 1.37 WHIP in 12 games and 61 1/3 innings pitched. He had a 3.00 ERA in 27 innings in April, shortly after opening day, but faltered a bit last month with a 5.83 ERA in 29⅓ innings.스포츠토토

Kikuchi said, “I had a good start to the season, but the last three or four games were not good. I made some changes there, and I think that’s why I pitched well today,” Kikuchi said. “(Pulling after the fifth inning) was a team decision. Of course I wanted to pitch, but I think the home run to Pam with two outs was big. Personally, I definitely wanted to be on the mound.”

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