Once again, the bullpen was the problem. Despite a strong start from ‘ace’ David Buchanan, the Samsung Lions’ bullpen collapsed in defeat.
Samsung lost 1-8 in the 14th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against the NC Dinos at NC Park in Changwon on Friday. The loss snapped a two-game winning streak and dropped the team’s record to 53 wins, one draw and 70 losses. They were the only team to win the head-to-head series against NC this season, but they lost the best-of-seven tiebreaker.
Buchanan pitched six strong innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks, but the bullpen took over from there. Choi Chae-heung, who made his first appearance in the bullpen after being moved from the starting rotation, struggled with 1 1/3 innings of one-hit ball and two runs, while Choi Ha-neul gave up four runs on two hits, one home run and one walk in ⅔ innings.
Choi Chae-heung also pitched well, but eventually gave up a run. In the seventh inning, trailing 1-2, Choi got things started by getting leadoff hitter Kim Joo-won to fly out to left field. He got Ahn Jung-yeol to ground out to third and Son Ah-seob to fly out to shortstop to end the inning with a triple play.
But the eighth inning was a problem. Han Seok-hyun grounded out to the pitcher, but Park Min-woo hit a triple to center field. Choi Chae-heung then walked Jason Martin on an automatic double play before turning the mound over to Choi Ha-neul. Choi gave up a bunt to Kwon Hee-dong, which allowed the runner from third to score and increase Choi’s lead. Kwon Hee-dong reached on a fielder’s choice to keep Samsung in the game.
Choi continued to falter. She gave up a walk to Do Tae-hoon to load the bases. He induced a grounder to Seo Ho-chul, but the ball deflected off the pitcher for an infield single. Choi gave up one more run. Finally, Kim Joo-won gave up the go-ahead run.
Another loss for the league’s weakest bullpen. Prior to this game, Samsung’s bullpen had a 5.18 ERA, the lowest among the 10 teams in the KBO. The number of blown games was high, and it was the biggest reason for Samsung’s slide to the bottom of the standings. 안전놀이터
Reserve Choi Chae-heung, who received a failing grade as a starter, also failed to impress in his first bullpen appearance. Choi, who showed promise as a starter in the merchant marine, became Samsung’s fifth starter after leaving the military. However, he struggled with six losses and a 7.59 ERA in 12 games and was eventually dropped from the starting rotation.
Choi Ha-neul, who was acquired from the Lotte Giants in a trade for Lee Hak-joo, has yet to live up to expectations. In the second division, he went 6-3 with a 2.45 ERA in 17 games, but before this game, he struggled mightily in the first division, going 2-2 with a 15.88 ERA.