Oh Seung-hwan (41, Samsung Lions), the ‘king of the end’, made his first start after 19 seasons of debut.
Oh Seung-hwan started the game against Kiwoom Heroes in the ‘2023 KBO League’ held at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu on the 3rd, recording 5 hits (1 home run), 6 strikeouts and 3 runs in 5 innings.
Oh Seung-hwan, who threw the ball right after the national ceremony on the mound, felt awkward both for himself and for the fans. Although he had a hard time in the beginning, he filled 5 innings with an aggressive pitch, a heavy fastball (maximum speed of 149 km) and a sharp curve, teasing batters.
Oh’s start is the first since his 2005 pro debut. Oh Seung-hwan, who threw 73 pitches, also surpassed the most innings (4) he had in 2005. Seung-hwan Oh started at the age of 40 years, 9 months and 18 days, and also broke the record of the oldest starting pitcher (38 years, 9 months, 13 days) left by Park Chan-ho (then Hanwha Eagles) on April 12, 2012.
His starting pitch itself was a big topic.
Oh Seung-hwan, who debuted in the KBO League in 2005, played only as a reliever pitcher. Beginning in 2006, he settled as a closer and recorded 374 saves in his KBO League career. Oh Seung-hwan (Korea, U.S. and Japan, 496 saves), who has experienced Japan Professional Baseball and Major League (MLB) as the best finisher in Korea, is also bowing down in front of the years. Recently, as the blown save increased, he handed over his finishing position to left-hander Lee Seung-hyun and came down as a middle pitcher.
In order to save veteran Oh Seung-hwan, who is a high-payer and a symbol of the team, the Samsung coaching staff used an unconventional method. At the suggestion of coach Jung Hyeon-wook, who had an experience of rebounding with surprise starts during his active career, coach Park Jin-man decided to appoint Seung-hwan Oh, who was in slump, as the starting pitcher.
Seung-hwan Oh’s starting appearance drew the largest number of spectators (13,394) during the week at Samsung Lions Park this season. It was a day that showed that the coaching staff and baseball fans were eagerly hoping for Oh’s rebound.
Oh Seung-hwan had a hard time throwing 21 balls in the first inning alone. Oh Seung-hwan, who threw only three balls against lead hitter Lee Jung-hoo and grounded the pitcher, threw a slider (122km/h) to Park Chan-hyeok twice, but gave up a double.
At the end of a full-count battle with No. 3 Kim Hye-seong, he sprayed a slider (133 km per hour) on the body, but was hit by a two-run home run (distance 115 m) that went over the right fence. Then he threw a forkball at Russell, and it hit a double. Oh Seung-hwan, who allowed 3 consecutive batters to hit, caught Lee Won-seok with a ground ball with a fastball that went up to 146 km instead of a breaking ball, and Lee Hyung-jong finished the inning with a먹튀검증 fly ball from center fielder.
With the change in fastball-oriented patterns, he found stability from the second inning. Oh Seung-hwan, who struck out Lim Byeong-wook and Kim Hwi-jip, gave up a hit to Lee Ji-young after two outs, and then allowed a double at the right time as the fastball (145km/h) thrown at Lee Jung-hoo was driven to the center and allowed a third run.
As a ‘living legend’, he quickly adapted. Seung-Hwan Oh dealt with 10 batters in 3.1 innings afterwards, all of which were hit.
At the beginning of the 3rd inning, Oh Seung-hwan caught Kim Hye-seong, who allowed a home run in his first confrontation, with a ground ball to second base, and then handled Russell as a floating ball to right field. Even Lee Won-seok struck out with a curve with a big drop and succeeded in the first tripartite inning. In the 4th inning, he struck out after a full count match with Hyungjong Lee. Against Lim Byeong-wook, he struck out on a swing with a breaking ball, and Kim Hui-jip caught it with a floating ball fouled by the first baseman.
Oh Seung-hwan, who had completely recovered, went to the mound in the 5th inning. He blocked the first batter Lee Ji-young with a pitcher ground ball and caught Lee Jung-hoo with a catcher ground ball with one ball. He threw 3 balls to Park Chan-hyuk, but after leading to a full count, he struck out on a swing with a slider and finished the 5th inning.
Coach Park Jin-man replaced Oh Seung-hwan with Choong-yeon Choi from the beginning of the 6th inning when the team was trailing 1-3. Oh Seung-hwan showed amazing ‘adaptability’ filling the 5th inning in his historic first start. Samsung failed to turn the game around and lost 1-4, recording his first starting loss in his debut, but Oh Seung-hwan, who seemed to have lost even his confidence, was able to prepare for the next game with renewed vigor.