After last night's 7-2 dismantling over the first-place Milwaukee Brewers, the Toronto Blue Jays have officially won three of their last four ballgames. Hidden in the action on Tuesday night were some career milestones for a pair of Blue Jays players.
First, Matt Chapman, who is one of the better third basemen in the league this season, drove in Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the bottom of the first inning for the 400th RBI of his big league career. Chapman, long known for his defensive prowess, has been off to a red-hot start this year at the plate.
In 54 games this year, the 30-year-old pending free agent has 19 doubles, 28 runs scored, seven home runs, 28 driven in and an OPS+ of 135. Even though his numbers have began to come back down to earth, he still seems to be in line for his second career All-Star Game selection.
On the mound, Yusei Kikuchi made the 11th start of his 2023 campaign and went five innings of two-run ball, walking five and striking out four. The Blue Jays offense easily carried him to his sixth win of the year, which also was the 100th of his professional career when you combine his Japan and MLB numbers. Along the way, he also struckout the 500th batter of his MLB career.
After a highly successful eight-year run in the NPB over in Japan, Kikuchi came over to play Major Leauge Baseball prior to the 2019 season with the Seattle Mariners. After three years there, he signed with the Blue Jays, where he will remain until the conclusion of next season when his contract expires.
After a rough go of it in 2022, Kikuchi has rebounded a bit in the current season, posting a 4.47 ERA and 92 ERA+ through 11 outings and just over 56 innings pitched. He is still allowing more home runs than fans are likely comfortable with, but his walk rate has lowered significantly and he has, for the most part, done everything he can to keep his team in the ballgame whenever he's on the mound.