Shintaro Fujinami, who transferred to the Baltimore Orioles, revealed another chronic problem. He may have only been sluggish in one game, but he was definitely a pitch that reminded us of nightmares from the beginning of the season.
Fujinami was sluggish with 23 pitches, 1 hit, 2 walks, 1 strikeout and 2 runs (2 earned) in ⅔ innings in an away match against the 2023 Major League Tampa Bay Race held at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, USA on the 23rd (hereinafter Korean time).메이저사이트
Fujinami, who signed a one-year contract with the Oakland Athletics for 3.25 million dollars (approximately 4.1 billion won) prior to this season, raised expectations by recording 3 wins and an undefeated ERA of 3.86 in 5 exhibition games. However, after the start of the regular season, Fujinami was very sluggish with an ERA of 14.40, suffering the yoke of defeat in all four games he started. Auckland tried to bring out the potential through Fujinami’s position change, but even this did not work.
It was in June that Fujinami, who had been sluggish all along, started to show good form for the first time. Fujinami is finally starting to live up to his expectations, recording 1 win, 2 losses and an earned run average of 3.97 in 10 games. And his good flow continued into July. In particular, the improvement in his control power, which had been holding back his own ankle, led to a ‘rebound’. As a result, he was transferred to the Baltimore Orioles, who are aiming to advance to the postseason and win the American League East division.
Fujinami climbed the mound for the first time wearing a Baltimore uniform on the 22nd, and hit a solo home run to the first batter, but with a fast ball of up to 101.5 miles (about 163.4 km), he made a successful debut by perfectly cooking subsequent hitters. After the game, head coach Brandon Hyde exclaimed “Wow!” and gave Fujinami’s pitch a thumbs up.
However, the pitching on this day was a disappointment itself. Fujinami got on the mound as a ‘winner’ in the bottom of the 8th inning, when Baltimore was leading 5-3, but it almost blew the team’s victory. Fujinami gave up a walk to lead hitter Manuel Margot, and then threw a ball to Yandi Diaz, follow-up hitter, and contributed a walk, causing a crisis on 1st and 2nd base.
The worst happened here. Fujinami, who could hardly score a zero, advanced the runners one base at a time as the first pitch splitter he threw in the match with follow-up hitter Wander Franco became a wild throw. Fujinami managed to induce a grounder from second base on Franco, but was unable to prevent the runner from third base from scoring. This is because the crisis of 1st and 2nd base became 2nd and 3rd base due to a wild pitch.
Fujinami, who conceded a run without getting hit, seemed to take a breather by striking out Harold Ramirez, the follow-up hitter. In the end, Baltimore, who felt the limit of patience, changed the pitcher, finished the inning without allowing additional runs, and scored a score to regain the lead in the top of the ninth inning, winning 6-5 and rising to first place in the American League East Division.
According to Japan’s ‘Chunichi Sports’, after the game ended on the 23rd, coach Brandon Hyde said, “Yesterday (22nd), Fujinami was so good. So, today I made him take the mound in that scene (8th inning with a lead of 5-3). I didn’t have a good pitch against the first two batters, but the pitching that revived afterwards was really impressive. I caught a grounder and struck out, and threw close to 102 miles (about 164km). He has confidence. It will definitely become a great power.”
Baltimore, which fiercely competed for tickets to the postseason until the end of the season as the potential of its prospects exploded last year, is having its best season this year. The reason Fujinami was recruited through a trade was to aim for the American League East division championship. Obviously, Fujinami had a good flow before the trade, but the appearance in the two games after the transfer reminds me of the worst sluggishness at the beginning of the season.
In the end, Fujinami’s problem is his own. On this day too, while he threw 23 pitches, he only had 9 strikes. It is definitely too early to judge everything yet. However, considering only the pitching in the two games after the transfer, the possibility of his instep being stamped cannot be ruled out.