Kikuchi hurled 6.1 innings against the Dodgers on Tuesday, allowing three runs on six hits and one walk while striking out 11. The southpaw's 11 strikeouts were a career high, and he racked up 17 swinging strikes in the contest. Kikuchi looked to be in line for a win upon entering the seventh frame with a 4-1 lead, but a pair of singles -- one of which didn't leave the infield -- resulted in his removal from the game, and the Dodgers brought home both runners en route to a come-from-behind win. Nonetheless, Kikuchi finished with his third straight quality start, and he has struck out 25 batters across 20.1 frames during that stretch. He'll look to keep building on the hot stretch in his next start, currently projected to come against Cleveland at home Sunday.
Kikuchi, whose next turn in the rotation would have normally come Wednesday, will instead switch places with Justin Dunn and start Tuesday's series opener against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Daniel Kramer of MLB.com reports. The logic behind the switch is to up the chances of the bullpen getting additional rest after Monday's team off day. Kikuchi has gone seven innings in each of his last two starts, and despite the temporary move up in the rotation, he'll still operate on five days' rest versus Los Angeles.
Kikuchi (1-2) allowed three earned runs on five hits and one walk while striking out seven across seven innings, taking the loss to the Orioles on Wednesday. Kikuchi tossed seven strong innings but was outdone by John Means, who threw a complete game no-hitter. Kikuchi struggled in April, but he provided 14 innings in his last two starts and allowed just three runs during that span while posting a 14:3 K:BB. The 30-year-old has pitched to a 4.30 ERA and 1.09 WHIP across 37.2 innings overall this season.
Kikuchi (0-1) took the loss Friday as the Mariners fell 6-5 to the Red Sox, getting tagged for five runs on six hits and three walks over 4.2 innings. He struck out one. The southpaw served up homers to Xander Bogaerts in the first inning and J.D. Martinez in the third, helping create a deficit that a ninth-inning rally by Seattle's offense couldn't erase. It was Kikuchi's shortest outing so far this season, and he'll take a 5.70 ERA and 20:9 K:BB through 23.2 innings into his next start Thursday in Houston.
Kikuchi hurled seven innings against Houston on Friday, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks while striking out three. He did not factor in the decision. Kikuchi breezed through his first four frames, allowing only one walk and facing the minimum 12 batters. However, things began to unravel for the left-hander in the fifth, as he yielded three runs on three hits and a walk. Kikuchi then gave up two more runs in the seventh before departing. Overall, the 29-year-old threw 91 pitches and gave up only one extra-base hit. He's now gone at least six innings in each of his first three starts, though he has yet to be part of a decision. Kikuchi's next outing will take place at Boston on Friday.
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