The Samsung Lions experienced one of the few “dynasties” in the history of professional baseball. That makes this season’s struggles all the more painful. Two-hitting struggles. That’s why you can’t help but appreciate a foreign ace who threw a 119-pitch shutout.
David Buchanan, 34, pitched nine innings of four-hit ball, striking out eight and giving up one run in a 4-1 win over the visiting Kia Tigers in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at KIA Champions Field in Gwangju on Wednesday.
Samsung ended the first half with 31 wins and 49 losses. With five games in hand on the ninth-place Kiwoom Heroes, Samsung still has a lot of work to do, but the win in the final game of the first half was even more significant because it came against KIA, which had lost six games in a row this season.
Kia, on the other hand, saw its winning streak end at six games. With a record of 36 wins, 39 losses, and one draw, KIA finished the first half in sixth place. They are one game behind the fifth-place Lotte Giants.
Samsung ranks last with a team ERA of 4.56 and ninth with a team batting average of 0.252 this season. The numbers are pretty straightforward as to why they’re in last place. Simply put, the bats are stagnant and the pitching staff is a total mess.
It’s a different story when the established starters are performing above expectations. In July, Samsung went 4-5 in nine games, but when the starters were struggling, they were completely ineffective.
Four days of rest to a start, and a grateful reliever.
That’s why Buchanan’s shoulders were even heavier when he was selected as the final starter of the first half. The pressure was even more intense because the team was coming off a sweep against KIA. Nevertheless, Buchanan was eager to give the team a win, even after four days of rest.
After giving up a leadoff single to Choi Won-jun in the first inning, Buchanan calmly induced a groundout to strand the runner, and then threw a changeup to Na Seong-beom, who has been hitting hot since returning from injury, for a swinging strikeout. Luck was on Buchanan’s side in the second inning. With two outs in the top of the third, Jose Pirela hit a grounder in front of the pitcher and ran to first base.
He jumped inside the three-foot line, but the pitcher’s throw was deemed to be out of bounds. With the ball out of play, the first baseman stole second and advanced to third. An agitated Kia manager Kim Jong-guk protested and was ejected from the game. Foil was called out and Samsung took the lead.
Not expecting much from the team’s batting lineup, Buchanan pitched harder to preserve the lead. He didn’t allow a single hit or walk from the bottom of the third inning until the top of the ninth. An error by the shortstop allowed Na to reach first base.
He used a mix of cut fastballs, changeups, and curves, with his fastball topping out at over 150 mph. His pitches were varied. He struck out four with his changeup, three with his cutter, and one with his curve.
Meanwhile, the bats came alive. In the fourth inning, Ryu Ji-hyuk, who was recently traded from KIA, led off with a single, and Kim Jae-sung followed with a two-run home run in the first inning. The top of the eighth inning also started with a leadoff single by Ryu Ji-hyuk, followed by a sacrifice bunt and a walk before Kim Dong-jin hit an RBI single. 4-0.
100 pitches and a ninth inning, Buchanan gets himself out of trouble
Despite having already thrown over 100 pitches, Buchanan took the mound once again in the ninth inning. He was determined to end the game on his own. He got pinch-hitter Ko Jong-wook to ground out to second base, but gave up back-to-back singles to Choi Won-joon and Kim Do-young. With runners on first and third, the coaching staff came to the mound.
He went all out for the last two outs. He got Na Sung-beom to ground out to first base to change the score to one run and then got Choi Hyung-woo to ground out to second base to give the team a valuable win in the final game of the first half.
Buchanan, who pitched her third complete game of the season and first nine-inning complete game, earned her seventh win of the season (6-0). He also lowered his ERA to 2.88. In 17 games and 109⅓ innings pitched this season, Buchanan has 11 quality starts (6+ innings pitched, 3 earned runs or less). He has clearly shown what it means to be an ace.카지노
In July, Samsung won four of nine games, with Buchanan giving the team two of those wins. He allowed just one run in 16 innings. Albert Suarez also picked up a win with six scoreless innings, and Won Tae-in was able to pick up a win after giving up three runs (one earned) in 6⅓ innings. In addition, the shadow of defeat loomed over the game, as it should, if the starting lineup faltered at all. It was hard to see the bats pulling off a dramatic comeback.
All the more reason to be thankful for Buchanan. Even with the All-Star break, throwing 119 pitches can take a toll on the body, and Buchanan’s heart was in the team’s victory.
It’s hard to read too much into a single victory. However, fans will be hoping that Samsung, who ended the first half of the game with a solo effort from their foreign ace, can show a different side in the second half.