The butterfly effect of a shaky bullpen… Ahn Woo-jin’s personal best pitch count + 11K ‘two-honor’ collapses

It was a butterfly effect from a shaky bullpen. Ahn Woo-jin (24, Kiwoom Heroes) pitched a career-high 11 innings and struck out 11 batters, but he was left in tears.

Ahn started against the KT Wiz in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Gocheok Sky Dome on Nov. 11.

Ahn has been struggling lately. He gave up five runs in 5⅓ innings against the Gwangju KIA Tigers on March 28 and four runs in six innings against the NC Dinos in Gocheok on March 4. The last time he gave up four runs in two consecutive games was in 2019, when he was in his second year as a professional. The last time he gave up less than three runs was in 2021.

It was a time when he needed to turn things around, both personally and for his team, which had lost four straight games. Ahn had a lot on his shoulders, but he pitched powerfully.

It started off badly. In the first inning, he gave up back-to-back singles to Kim Min-hyuk and Kim Sang-soo to put runners on second and third with no outs, but then gave up a sacrifice fly to center field to Anthony Alford to fall behind 0-1.

After a shaky start, Ahn pitched a perfect second inning. He retired five straight batters, from Hwang Jae-gyun to leadoff to Kim Min-hyuk in the bottom of the inning. From there, he used a mix of strikeouts and walks to retire 11 straight batters until two outs in the top of the fifth. 해외안전놀이터 추천

After ending the top of the sixth with a triple play, Ahn Woo-jin took the mound in the top of the seventh with the score tied 1-1. He had already thrown 98 pitches, but was forced to take the mound due to team circumstances.

The Kiwoom bullpen was ranked last in the league with an 8.64 bullpen ERA in July. With the bullpen’s overall unreliability, the team couldn’t easily substitute powerful starter Ahn Woo-jin in hopes that he could get one more out.

Ahn gave up a leadoff single to Park Byung-ho and then Jang Jang-woo grounded out to the second baseman to put runners on first and second. He then drew a full-count walk to Hwang Jae-gyun and gave up a single to Lee Ho-yeon to put runners on first and second with one out.

With that, Ahn was replaced by reliever Yang Hyun to finish the game. However, Ahn added two more runs to the deficit as Yang Hyun hit a two-run double to pinch-hitter Choi Soo-ho with runners on second and third, making it 1-4. Ahn’s final line was 6⅓ innings, five hits, one walk, 11 strikeouts and two runs. The right-hander threw 120 pitches, including 11 strikes, but his effort was overshadowed by his team’s 2-4 loss.

Kiwoom, meanwhile, had a bitter pill to swallow as they were unable to get the win despite serving up a sure ace. It was their fifth straight loss.

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