There have been plenty of strange reasons for an injury, but Toronto Blue Jays starter Yusei Kikuchi has offered and entirely new one.
The Toronto Blue Jays are clinging to an AL Wild Card spot right now, so every game matters in this final stretch of the season and short outings from starters are not ideal if they can be avoided. They beat the New York Yankees 7-1 on Tuesday night, but Yusei Kikuchi exited in the sixth inning with what was deemed to be a cramp.
Kikuchi was at 82 pitches through five innings plus a batter. But he was pitching well, allowing just one run on four hits with seven strikeouts and just one walk (the batter to start the sixth inning). So he wouldn’t have necessarily been taken out of the game at that point, if not for the cramping issue.
Kikuchi has had a fine season, now 10-6 after Tuesday night’s victory with a 3.74 ERA (4.19 FIP), a 1.24 WHIP, a 9.6 K/9 and a 2.6 BB/9 over 158.2 innings (30 starts). So whatever he’s doing on or off the field has worked from a performance perspective, after he posted an ERA over 5.00 in 2022.
Baseball players obviously live a unique schedule during a long season, with games that end late, irregular meal times and varying sleep schedules sometimes. But Kikuchi’s sleep schedule seems to be unique, and maybe it’s to be admired.
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Yusei Kikuchi sleeps like a college kid on weekends
After the game Tuesday night, via Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic, Kikuchi offered a unique reason for the cramping that caused his early exit. And it wasn’t lacking something in his diet lately, or being dehydrated.
"#Blue Jays starter Yusei Kikuchi thinks he’ll be fine for his next start after he left the game with cramps. The biggest revelation was that he said it may have been caused by only getting 11 (!) hours of sleep last night instead of his usual 13 or 14 hours (!!)"
McGrath added that Kikuchi said he usually goes to bed at around 11 p.m. and wakes up around 1 p.m. the next day, for a good 13-14 hours of sleep a night. The Blue Jays’ lefty had an interruption in his sleep schedule Monday night, “only” 11 hours, and wound up having a physical issue on Tuesday night. All hail to the virtues of proper sleep, whatever it happens to look like.