David Buchanan (34, Samsung Lions) started the first game of a doubleheader against the Doosan Bears in Jamsil on Sept. 9 and pitched eight shutout innings, striking out seven and walking one. The Lions went on to win 5-1 and Buchanan picked up his 10th win of the season (6-0). It’s the fourth straight year the team has reached 10 wins.
Buchanan, who went 15-7 in his first season in the KBO in 2020, has been a consistent ace ever since. Nine teams tried to sign him, but to no avail. Instead, he has maintained his career-high ERA (2.69) this season, which is the first time he’s been in the double digits since his debut.
Behind the consistency is smarts and adaptability. Samsung manager Park Jin-man said, “I think Buchanan has adapted to Korean baseball by making small changes to his pitching patterns for each opponent. He’s also been consistent with his body. He overcame being analyzed and prepared hard with his own analysis,” he said.
Behind his eight-inning performance on the ninth, Buchanan had a sense of responsibility for the team. “I knew they were tired because they had just played extra innings against the Lotte Giants in Ulsan on the 7th and arrived in Seoul late. I wanted to help them, and I wanted to stop them, so I think that’s why I stayed focused.”
Buchanan leads the league in pitching average (100 pitches) this season. On Aug. 11 against SSG Landers, he threw a whopping 127 pitches. “I’ve been throwing a lot, but I’m feeling really good right now. As a starting pitcher, I think you have to pitch hard to help your team win in any situation. I don’t care about the pitch count. Even in a nine-day (107-pitch) game, it’s your job as a starter to take responsibility for whatever you can take responsibility for.”
Even in Major League Baseball (MLB), pitchers are throwing fewer and fewer pitches. “Honestly, I didn’t want to throw the seventh inning,” Seattle Mariners ace George Kirby said after the game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sept. 9 (KST), “I had 90 pitches and I didn’t think I needed to throw any more.” He was criticized by retired players such as Roger Clemens and Jered Weaver.메이저사이트
Unlike Kirby, Buchanan is reminiscent of the “complete game ace” of yesteryear. When I asked Buchanan about Kirby’s situation, he laughed and said, “I don’t agree with Kirby. If a starting pitcher has a job to do, they should do it, regardless of the pitch count. I’ve pitched in the ninth inning, and if the team needs me, I can go back out there. I don’t think there’s an ideal pitch count for a pitcher,” he said emphatically.
A fifth consecutive 10-win season is not yet a certainty. It’s too early to tell if he’ll re-sign. “I hope I can come back to Korea next year,” Buchanan said. Most of all, the Korean fans love my family,” he said, “but as my son Bradley (4) gets older, it’s time to think about school and education. We’ll think about re-signing later.”