The Mariners then revealed that they had created a specific strategy to limit Kikuchi’s innings this season: every sixth or so start, he would only pitch the team’s “opener,” handing the ball over to a young pitcher called up from the minors after the first inning.
He had a fantastic showing on August 18th, when he pitched the first complete game and shutout of his career in a 7-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on a two-hitter. In 32 games, he pitched 161 2/3 innings and was 6-11 with a 5.46 ERA.
The abbreviated season caused by the COVID-19 epidemic limited him to just nine starts in 2020. He had a 2-4 record and a 5.17 ERA.
His strikeout rate increased from 116 in 161 2/3 innings to 47 in 47 innings, and his hit rate decreased from 10.9 to 7.9.
In a start against the Houston Astros on April 29, 2021, he flirted with a no-hitter.
On his route to a 1-0 victory, he did not allow a hit until one out in the seventh inning, then pitched the rest of the inning without allowing any further damage.
This was the start of an outstanding first half, which saw him earn his first trip to the All-Star Game.
In 29 starts, he finished 7-9, 4.41 with 163 strikeouts in 157 innings, but his first and second halves were drastically different: 6-4, 3.48 before the break and 1-5, 5.98 after.
This was particularly troubling because the Mariners were in contention for a postseason berth until the very last day of the season, and he provided almost no value in the final weeks.
How Tall Is Yusei Kikuchi?
Yusei Kikuchi has a height of 1.84 m.