The 14th game of the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ between Samsung and Kiwoom took place at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu, South Korea. Before the game, Samsung manager Park Jin-man analyzed the poor performance of Taylor Widener, who started the previous day.
Widener had struck out five batters in 4⅔ innings the day before, but was overwhelmed by 11 hits, two walks, and seven runs. In the second inning alone, he gave up a whopping six runs, and although Samsung scored two runs in the ninth inning, it was not enough to prevent a 4-7 loss.
The 11 strikeouts were the most in a single game for Widener, who made his KBO debut this year. On the day, Widener faced 27 batters and had a 4.35 ERA.
“It wasn’t the pitch itself that was bad, but rather the ball mix,” Park said. “We had a lot of young batters in the bottom of the second inning, so we had a weakness with our changeup, but we focused on our fastball.”
Widener gave up eight hits in the second inning alone. Four of them were on fastballs. The game-winning two-run double to No. 8 Kim Soo-hwan with two outs was particularly painful. Kim lined a 147-kilometer-per-hour fastball from Widener over the right field fence. Kim Xiang, the No. 9 hitter, also took advantage of Widener’s fastball. With runners on first and third, Kim also hit a fastball for an RBI single.
Of course, starting pitchers don’t often get to enjoy a fastball battle early in the game when the ball has power. However, Park emphasized that “if a batter has a weakness, you should use a changeup.”
“After the game, we talked with the coaching staff about the ball mix,” Park said. For Samsung, Kim Jae-sung will bat eighth in the lineup instead of Kang Min-ho, who wore a mask the day before.
Jose Pirela will bat fourth, Ryu Ji-hyuk will bat fifth, and Lee Jae-hyun will bat sixth in the batting order, moving up one spot from the previous day. Oh Jae-il, who batted eighth the previous day, will be rested and Ryu Ji-hyuk will bat first, while Kang Kang-ul will bat ninth. “It’s to give the bats a day off,” a Samsung official said.안전놀이터
“Yesterday, we were unlucky as well-hit balls from Kang Min-ho and others were caught by the opposing pitcher,” Park said. “Today’s starter, Baek Jung-hyun, was strong against Kiwoom,” he added. Baek is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA in two games against Kiwoom this year.
Samsung made a few changes to their lineup from the previous day, including switching their starting catcher. It remains to be seen if the team will be able to fight back with the Hero Corps killer Baek Jeong-hyun.