K-Shō Shirakawa, it’s a shame to send you home.

The loudest applause for the losing pitcher

Keisho Shirakawa (23-SSG) wrapped his glove around his face in disappointment when Kim Hyung-joon (NC) hit a ball that cleared the left field fence for a home run in the seventh inning, a ball that probably wouldn’t have been a home run on any other ballpark in Incheon.

He had been pitching well on the day and wanted to finish the inning himself. Shirakawa was eventually removed after giving up a hard-hit ball to the next batter, Kim Hui-jip. The result could have been a blip on the radar compared to his performance, but the SSG fans in attendance at Incheon SSG Landers Field knew how he felt and cheered him on with more applause and cheers than anyone else in the game. Even though he didn’t qualify as a winning pitcher, he was treated like one.

After signing a six-week contract as a short-term replacement foreign player for Roenis Elias, who was sidelined with a side injury, Shirakawa made his SSG debut against NC at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on April 21, throwing 106 pitches over 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits (two home runs) with one walk and 10 strikeouts. It was Shirakawa’s fourth start in the KBO, and he had a good outing, going the first six innings, earning his first quality start (three earned runs or less over six innings), and recording his first double-digit strikeout total (10). The only thing missing was a win.

Facing NC, a team with a well-structured lineup and plenty of power, Shirakawa’s fastball reached a career-high 151.2 mph (per Trackman) on the day. He came in well-rested and had plenty of power on the ball. He was aggressive against NC hitters, throwing 53 pitches for strikes, followed by his curveball (18), forkball (18), slider (9), cutter (6), and changeup (2).

He gave up a leadoff double to Park Min-woo, but got Son Asub to ground out to third and Park Gun-woo and Davidson to strike out to get out of what could have been his most nerve-wracking first inning. From the second inning on, it was relatively smooth sailing. In the second, he retired the side in order, and in the third, he struck out Kim Hyung-joon and Kim Hui-jip 스포츠토토 on back-to-back forkballs. In the third and fourth innings, I was hit by a pitch with two outs, but I didn’t have any problems with the hits.

However, I was a little disappointed with the home run. In the top of the fifth inning with a 1-0 lead, Park gave up a solo home run to Si-won Woo. After striking out Park Gun-woo, Davidson Seo, and Ho-cheol Seo in the sixth inning, Shirakawa, who had thrown 94 pitches by the end of the sixth inning, was still on the mound for the seventh inning. However, he gave up a solo home run to Kim Hyung-joon in left field one out later.

But in a game where he didn’t have his usual batting support, his pitching was good enough. Most importantly, Shirakawa proved his stamina, which has been one of the biggest doubts surrounding him. Coming into the game on a week’s rest after pitching against KIA on the 13th, Shirakawa’s fastball and average velocity were both the highest in his 토토사이트 추천 KBO debut. He also shed the label of “five-inning pitcher” by maintaining his strength until the middle of the game.

Even Kim Hyung-jun (NC), who hit a home run against Shirakawa, admitted, “His fastball was so good. I knew he had a good fastball, but it seemed even better when I saw it in person.”

With Elias starting in the Futures League on June 20, the question is where Shirakawa will go from here. In four games, Shirakawa’s ERA is 5.09, which isn’t great, but that’s due to one bad outing (7 earned runs in 1⅓ innings against Lotte on June 7) and the other three games were all five innings or more and three runs or less. It’ll be interesting to see how Shirakawa’s command is evaluated at this level of the professional game without full-time experience, and if the team decides to bring up Elias, Shirakawa has one game left to pitch. Even if he leaves the team as is, he’ll still be worth 1.8 million yen (about $15.7 million) and look forward to the next one.


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