The Japanese teammate of Toronto Blue Jays’ “Korean Monster” Hyun-jin Ryu, 36, has an unconventional lifestyle that may be the key to his 10 wins this year.
Japanese left-handed pitcher Yusei Kikuchi (32), who plays in Toronto alongside Hyun-jin Ryu, started the game against the visiting New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y., on Tuesday (June 20) and pitched five innings of four-hit ball, striking out seven and walking one to lead Toronto to a 7-1 victory and his 10th win of the season.
He finally reached the 10-win plateau for the first time in his fifth year in the majors. Kikuchi made his major league debut with the Seattle Mariners in 2019, going 6-11 with a 5.46 ERA, followed by a 2-4 record with a 5.17 ERA in 2020 and a 7-9 record with a 4.41 ERA in 2021 before signing a three-year, $36 million free agent contract with Toronto. After going 6-7 with a 5.19 ERA last year, Kikuchi has turned things around this year, going 10-6 with a 3.74 ERA.
Kikuchi threw 82 pitches on the day. He threw a curveball (32), four-seam fastball (30), and slider (20), with his four-seam fastball topping out at 96.1 mph (155 km/h).
Based on his pitch count alone, he could have pitched more than five innings. In fact, Kikuchi was still on the mound in the bottom of the sixth inning when he walked leadoff hitter DJ LeMay and was replaced by right-hander Yimi Garcia. The walk wasn’t the reason for Kikuchi’s removal. It was because he was experiencing neck spasms that made it difficult for him to continue pitching.
After the game, Kikuchi explained the reason for the neck spasm: “I had only slept for 11 hours, so my neck might have been stiff.” It’s not surprising. The average Korean sleeps 6.3 hours, and Japan sleeps 6.1 hours, so it’s not surprising that Kikuchi was able to get 11 hours of sleep and blame it for his body’s problems.메이저사이트
The American ‘The Athletic’ reported, “Kikuchi usually sleeps for 13 to 14 hours. He falls asleep at 11 p.m. and wakes up at 1 p.m. the next day.” That’s more than half of the 24 hours in a day spent sleeping.
“Kikuchi knows that being well-rested is essential to performing at his best,” said CBS Sports, a U.S. sports media outlet. “Unfortunately, he left the game against the Yankees with a stiff neck after getting 11 hours of sleep. Whatever Kikuchi’s sleep schedule is, it seems to be working for him.” Kikuchi’s unique sleep routine was also discussed on the same day.
Kikuchi is having one of the most successful seasons of his major league career this season, which makes his very different sleep schedule even more noteworthy. It makes you wonder if getting enough sleep isn’t one of the reasons he’s won 10 games and thrown a 155-mph fastball.