It took him a whopping 1844 days to add another win after 129, but once he regained his confidence, the next one was easier.
Doosan Bears’ Jang Won-jun (38) pitched 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball with two walks and three strikeouts against the Hanwha Eagles in their 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League home game at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Saturday.메이저사이트
It was his first win in a start since 25 March 2018 against the Samsung Lions. It was a huge boost for manager Lee Seung-yeop, who was faced with a hole in his rotation.
Jang Won-jun, Doosan’s leading pitcher at the peak of his career, has been on a downward spiral since 2017 and even considered retirement ahead of this season, but Lee reached out to him. He bounced back and made changes, including a two-seam fastball, in an effort to stay alive.
On the 23rd of last month, the 129-win pitcher made his first start in 958 days and picked up a valuable win. He became the 11th pitcher in KBO history to win 130 games. With holes in the starting lineup, he pitched beyond expectations to give his team the win.
However, he was subsequently released from the first team. All the spots in the rotation had been filled. Jang waited another ten days for his chance. With Dylan Pyle back from injury, Kwak Bin out again, and Choi Won-jun demoted to the Futures (second team) due to poor pitching, there were three holes in the starting line-up.
After giving up a walk to Jung Eun-won in the first inning, Jang got out of the jam by retiring Chae Eun-sung on a wild pitch. She recorded three strikeouts on the day, all of which were inning-ending groundouts with the bases loaded. In the second inning, he struck out Jang Jin-hyeok with runners on second and first, and in the fourth, he got Jang Jin-hyeok to ground into a double play with runners on first and second before giving up three pitches to Lee Jin-young for a swinging strikeout to end the inning. In the fifth, with two on and one out, he threw a change-up to Chae Eun-sung for a swinging strike.
After throwing 85 pitches, Jang Won-jun took the mound in the sixth inning. He pitched cleanly, but there were concerns after throwing only 70 pitches in his last game. The decision was made to put as little pressure on the bullpen as possible, as alternate starter Park Shin-ji will be needed for Game 7. He flicked Kim In-hwan to the right-field fence and then handed the ball to Park Chi-guk to finish the job.
With his 131st win, Jang Won-jun is now 129 wins behind Lotte Giants coach Bae Young-soo (131) for fifth place on the career starts list. “I wanted to get 130 wins in the first game, and now I have no regrets,” Jang said, “so I think I can enjoy it a little bit more.”
In his 88-ball innings, Jang topped out at just 138kmph, but he was confident enough to scatter nearly half of them for 43 runs. This was thanks to the two-seam fastball he was fitted with before the season. Again, only one of his fastballs was a four-seam fastball and 42 were two-seam. Two of his three strikeouts were also two-seamers. His slider (26 pitches), changeup (15 pitches) and curveball (4 pitches) added to the mix.
When asked about the two-seam, Yang said, “He said it curves in well, so it’s good for right-handed hitters,” and added, “When I throw it, you don’t see it curve. It looks like it’s going straight, so I try to control it more.”
Coach Lee Seung-yeop also commented, “Our starter, Jang Won-jun, pitched his best game in two consecutive games in a difficult situation. He proved the value of a veteran with his seasoned pitching.”
He pitched better than in the previous game (four runs in five innings) despite the same win. “It was more helpful for the team to keep the runs to a minimum. I’m personally satisfied that I was able to help the team because the starting line-up is not good.”
However, it’s hard to say that he’s secured a spot in the starting rotation just yet. Kwak Bin is scheduled to start on the 11th, and we’ll have to wait and see how Park Shin-ji pitches on the 7th. Jang Won-jun is expected to remain calm and wait for his chance to return.