Kikuchi allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits, a walk and a wild pitch over 4.2 innings in the Mariners' 5-4 extra-innings win over the Athletics in Tokyo, Japan on Thursday. He struck out three and did not factor into the decision. It was a reasonably effective regular-season major-league debut for Kikuchi, one that ironically unfolded right back in his native Japan. The 27-year-old southpaw didn't allow any extra-base hits, with the only runs charged to him coming as a result of a Marcus Semien single and a Jay Bruce error at first base that allowed Jurickson Profar to cross the plate. Otherwise, his first taste of big-league action seemed to be unfold relatively smoothly, particularly encouraging given that Kikuchi had an up-and-down Cactus League tenure. The young left-hander will be well-rested whenever he does take the mound for his second start, as the Mariners do not resume play until next Thursday against the Red Sox in Seattle.
Kikuchi fired five strong innings in an intrasquad game Wednesday afternoon, his final tune-up prior to a scheduled start in the second game of the regular season on March 21, Greg Johns of MLB.com repors. Kikuchi battled strong gusts of wind that reached up to 30 mph, but he still managed to get quality work in after seeing his regularly scheduled Cactus League turn postponed by rain Tuesday. Kikuchi will ironically kick off his major-league regular-season career in his native Japan, where he'd spent the entirety of his professional career prior to signing with the Mariners this offseason.
Kikuchi will throw 4-5 innings an intrasquad game Wednesday after his scheduled final Cactus League start was rained out Tuesday, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. The southpaw is slated to work up to between 75 and 85 pitches in his final tune-up prior to taking the hill for the Mariners' second game of the season in his native Japan. Kikuchi has gotten nine innings of work in across three starts thus far this spring, generating a 2-1 record and 4.00 ERA.
Kikuchi will start the second game of the Mariners' season on March 21 against the Athletics in Japan, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reports. Kikuchi lines up to pitch second in the team's rotation behind Marco Gonzales. It remains unclear if he'll remain in that spot in the order all season, as he may require extra days of rest as he transitions from a Japanese pitching schedule -- where starters pitch once a week -- to an American one, where starters generally throw every five days.
Kikuchi allowed two earned runs on five hits, a walk and a wild pitch over four innings in an 11-3 Cactus League win over the Reds on Thursday. He struck out two. According to Greg Johns of MLB.com, Kikuchi endured a rough first inning, but he was able to work out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam by allowing just one run. Kikuchi also allowed a leadoff homer in the second to Derek Dietrich and took a line-drive shot off his thigh from the bat of Yasiel Puig during the outing, but he was able to finish his four frames without any notable impediment. Johns reports the Reds appeared to be honed in on Kikuchi's fastball and slider early, so the southpaw adjusted by leaning more on his breaking pitches the rest of the way with some effectiveness. "I was really happy with the way he threw tonight," manager Scott Servais said. "Every time out there's he's learning more, whether it's his relationship with the catcher or what the other teams are going to do against him. He's continuing to really progress nicely."