The Toronto Blue Jays made a season-ending tweak to their starting rotation. Why?
Toronto will start Yusei Kikuchi at home against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 30. Hyun-jin Ryu, who was originally scheduled to start, was pushed back a day.
It’s not uncommon for teams in the postseason to make last-minute adjustments to their starting rotation order.
This move doesn’t seem to be unrelated to the postseason.
Toronto manager John Schneider said in his pregame interview, “If things go the way we want them to go, we’ll be in a situation where he (Kikuchi) can pitch a little bit earlier.”
If Kikuchi pitches tonight, he will be available for Game 1 of the wild card after three days of rest. With four days of rest, he could even be looking at a Game 2 start.
From the bullpen to the starting rotation, all options are available. Given the extra day, it’s possible he could be used in the bullpen.
Schneider was open to the idea of Kikuchi being used in the postseason, saying, “We think he’s a very good pitcher.”
Kikuchi was demoted to the bullpen last season. In 12 games out of the bullpen, he posted a 4.91 ERA, which was better than his 20 starts (5.25).
“When he went down to the bullpen last year, he looked like a different guy,” Schneider said. He was aggressive with his pitches. I think that carried over into his starts this year. He’s not worried about the big stage and he’s ready to go in any situation,” Schneider said of Kikuchi.
Using Kikuchi out of the bullpen in the postseason doesn’t mean he’s been a bad starter; he’s 10-6 with a 3.82 ERA in 162 2/3 innings pitched in 31 games this season.
“It’s all about command,” Schneider said. If he has command with his stuff, he’s a more effective pitcher,” Schneider said, adding, “If you look at what he’s done all season, he’s been really consistent and had a really good season. I think he’s underrated in terms of consistency, but he’s been as good as anybody,” he said, praising Kikuchi’s efforts.
Toronto, meanwhile, can clinch a postseason berth with a win over Tampa Bay today and a Seattle Mariners loss to the Texas Rangers.메이저사이트
With a win tonight, the Jays will have to wait until the Seattle game, which starts at 10 p.m. ET, to celebrate their postseason berth.
“We’re just going to take care of business as usual,” Schneider said. We’re just going to worry about our game and not worry about what other teams are doing.”