“Other teams go to the minors earlier” Bullpen relegation → ERA 13.94, Ohtani rival endless downfall

The man who was once called the rival of Shohei Ohtani (29, Los Angeles Angels) is in an endless decline after advancing to the United States. He was demoted to the bullpen while playing in the starting rotation, but a rebound seems far off.

Shintaro Fujinami메이저사이트 (29, Oakland Athletics) pitched in relief in an away game against the 2023 Major League Kansas City Royals held at Coffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, USA on the 8th (hereafter Korean time), throwing 1⅓ innings, 4 hits and 3 runs. suffered 

Fujinami took the mound as the second pitcher after starter Mason Miller in the seventh inning, who trailed narrowly 1-2. It was a pursuit team mission to suppress the opponent’s runs. The first round was stable. After two outs, he was hit to left field by Bobby Witt Jr., but caught Vinny Pas Quantino on a fly ball to left field to end the inning cleanly. 

The nightmare of the 8th inning, which was still dragged 1-2, unfolded. He met 1st and 2nd baseman Nick Prato, who was safely hit by consecutive hits from leaders Salvador Perez and MJ Melendez, and dedicated 2 RBIs and a double. 3B-1S A 98.4 mile (158 km) four-seam fastball on the fifth pitch, thrown at an unfavorable count, led to a long hit to the right-middle outfield. Afterwards, Michael Garcia was grounded by first baseman and barely got one out.

Fujinami passed the mound to Sam Long from 1 out and 3 base in the 8th inning, trailing 1-4, and ended the game unfortunately. Afterwards, Long hit a sacrifice fly from Michael Massey and one successor homered. It was the moment when the average ERA soared from 13.50 to 13.94. 

Fujinami threw a 160km fastball in high school and was called Ohtani’s rival. He made his professional debut with the Hanshin Tigers and achieved double-digit wins for three consecutive years from 2013, but since 2017 he has not lived up to his expectations due to difficulties in pitching and injuries. In 2020, following the Corona 19 infection, he was also punished for being late for team training and was relegated to the second team indefinitely. 

Last year, Fujinami, who had an average ERA of 3.38 in 16 games, 3 wins and 5 losses, pushed for advancement into the major leagues through the posting system after the season. And finally, last January, he signed a contract with Oakland for 3.25 million dollars (about 4.2 billion won) for a year and achieved his dream of advancing to the United States. 

Nami Fuji revealed his first season prospects with an ERA of 3.86, 3 wins in 5 exhibition games, and no losses. However, once he entered the game, he became a completely different pitcher. On the 2nd, starting with 8 runs in 2⅓ innings in his debut against the Los Angeles Angels, he suffered a disaster of 4 losses and an average ERA of 14.40 without winning 4 games in the start. With an ERA of 12.71, he is struggling to adapt to the big leagues. 

Both the US and Japan cannot hide their disappointment at Fujinami’s endless sluggishness. Japanese media ‘Sponichi Annex’ said on the 8th, “Fujinami was attacked with a splitter, with 3 hits out of 4 hits that day. Unlike the last game, there were no walks, but he had a hard time choosing the deciding ball,” and Japan NTV News criticized, “Fujinami suffered another hunt and his ERA deteriorated to 13.94.” 

The media then reported conflicting reactions toward Fujinami on local SNS. Nippon NTV News said, “Some fans are praying for Fujinami’s performance, saying, ‘Can it be done somehow’ or ‘Please overcome it’, but on the contrary, “If it were a different team, it would have already gone to the minor leagues.” There are also harsh evaluations such as ‘nanda’.” 

Oakland, where Fujinami belongs, remains at the bottom of the American League West division with a .229 win rate of 8 wins and 27 losses this season. 9.5 games against 4th place Seattle Mariners. Fujinami, who became an Auckland man for $3.25 million, is also not free from responsibility.

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