Bae Ji-hwan (24, Pittsburgh Pirates) finally took advantage of the opposing starting pitcher’s boast and continued his hitting streak for 6 consecutive games.
Bae Ji-hwan started as number 7 and center fielder in the 2023 Major League home game against the Washington Nationals held at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA on the 12th (Korean time) and recorded 1 hit, 1 RBI, and 2 strikeouts in 4 at-bats. He maintained his season batting average and on-base percentage at 0.245 and 0.306, respectively, and only raised his slugging percentage from 0.323 to 0.325, hitting OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) at 0.631.
The person who stood out the most in this game, which Washington won 6-2, was Washington starting pitcher Patrick Corbin (34). Before this game, Corbin was a pitcher below expectations with an ERA of 5.23 in 28 games. However, on this day, he was like an ace who had previously ranked 5th in the National League Cy Young Award. With a total of 98 pitches, including 51 sliders, 33 sinkers, 9 four-seam fastballs, and 5 changeups, he earned his 10th win (13 losses) of the season with 5 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts, and 2 runs in 6⅔ innings.
In particular, the main weapon slider was no different from a harness. He drew the most 14 missed swings with a slider with an average speed of 82.1 miles per hour (about 132.1 km) and a top speed of 95.3 miles per hour (about 153.4 km). In contrast, he failed to draw a single missed swing with a sinker and changeup, and twice with a four-seam fastball. American media outlet MASN Sports gave a favorable review, saying, “Corbin’s slider was the most useful pitch. He struck out 7 out of 8 while drawing 14 swings and misses with his slider.”
Praise from both teams’ command towers continued. “Corbin pitched very hard tonight,” Washington coach Dave Martinez said. “As I’ve said (in the past), when his slider comes out right, everything works out.” Pittsburgh coach Derek Shelton also praised Corbin, saying, “Corbin’s changeup and slider were really good tonight.”
Bae Ji-hwan also struggled in the beginning. In the 2nd inning, with 2 outs and runners on first base, a good catch turned into a straight hit to the shortstop, and in the 5th inning, he missed a swing and struck out on two consecutive sliders coming in low to the outside.
Meanwhile, Washington gradually scored points. In the top of the third inning, with two outs and runners on second base, CJ Abrams hit Pittsburgh starter Andre Jackson’s two-run shot to right-center. Pittsburgh made up for one run with Brian Reynolds’ RBI single in the bottom of the third inning with two outs and a timely hit on second base, but Washington got away with Joey Meneses’ RBI single in the top of the fourth inning with a timely hit on second base. Then, with bases loaded and one out, Luis Garcia was out on a grounder and a runner on third base homered, giving Washington a 4-1 lead. Dominic Smith in the top of the 6th inning and Abrams in the top of the 7th each made solo arches, effectively driving a wedge.
It was Bae Ji-hwan who blocked Corbin’s steps towards his third quality start plus of the season (7 or more innings and 3 or fewer earned runs as a starter). In the bottom of the 7th inning, when Miguel Anduja hit a double, with 2 outs and runners on second base, Bae Ji-hwan caught Corbin’s 80.2 mph (approximately 129.1 km) slider that dropped low and hit a timely double with an RBI in the right field. It was a somewhat short distance, but with his quick feet, he quickly produced his 15th double of the season and 6 consecutive hits.메이저놀이터
Due to Bae Ji-hwan’s timely hit, Corbin left the mound without being able to finish the inning and was replaced by Jordan Beams. Pittsburgh, which recorded a losing series against Washington with 1 win and 3 losses, ranked 4th in the National League Central Division with 66 wins and 78 losses. Washington recorded a winning series, but failed to move out of 5th place in the National League East Division with 65 wins and 79 losses.