The only hope for a ‘depressed’ Samsung… Why Buchanan is an ace

Samsung snaps 3-game losing streak with 7 IP, 2 HR, 5 K win over NC on Aug. 8

Last-place Samsung snapped a three-game losing streak with a sweep of fourth-place NC at home.

The Samsung Lions, led by manager Park Jin-man, pounded out 11 hits, including a home run, in an 8-0 victory over the NC Dinos of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at NC Park in Changwon, South Korea, on Monday. Escaping a three-game sweep at the hands of the Doosan Bears in a midweek three-game series in their “second home” of Pohang, Samsung narrowed the gap to 5.5 games (29-48) over the ninth-place Hanwha Eagles, who lost 7-9 to the SSG Landers earlier in the day.

Samsung was led by Kim Dong-jin, who hit a sacrifice fly to right field in the third inning, and Jose Pirela, who went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, including his ninth home run of the season. In fact, even with the win, Samsung ended the first half in last place. One of the biggest consolations for Samsung fans during this dismal season has been their foreign ace, David Buchanan, who has remained consistent on the mound in his fourth season in the KBO.

Samsung has never had a solid foreign ace

Samsung has won a whopping seven Korean Series titles since the 2000s. In fact, no other team has won more titles in the same period (SK Wyverns & SSG Landers 5). It’s no wonder they’re often referred to as the “most prestigious franchise of the 21st century. However, compared to other teams that have relied heavily on foreign aces, Samsung has won so many championships and has had relatively few foreign aces that have been an absolute force.

Left-hander Scott Baker, who played in 1998 when the foreign player program was introduced, won 15 games that year, but his 4.13 ERA was far from league-dominant. Narciso Elvira, the Mexican left-hander who led Samsung to its first Korean Series title in 2002, went 13-6 with a 2.50 ERA in 2002. But in 2003, when more was expected of him, Elvira was sent home with a 1-1 record and a 7.06 ERA in six games.

In 2006, when Samsung won back-to-back Korean Series titles under Sun Dong-yeol, the team had a foreign one-two punch of Tim Harkala and Jamie Brown. Harikala and Brown combined for 23 wins in the regular season, and Harikala was particularly impressive in the 2006 Korean Series against Hanwha, pitching 9.2 innings and one run (0.93 ERA) in two games. However, Harikala was not re-signed, citing his lack of dominance and Brown’s weakness in big games.

After two consecutive Korean Series losses and a slump for two to three years, Samsung built a dynasty in 2011 when Ryu Jung-il, the national team manager, took over and set an all-time record of winning four consecutive regular season and Korean Series titles. But even in the midst of what has been called the greatest dynasty in KBO history, it’s hard to find a foreign pitcher who has been an unquestioned ace. Rick VandenHulk, who spent two years with Samsung and led the league in strikeouts in 2014 (180), also had a career-high 13 wins.

Mitch Talbott, who had one 10-win season in the big leagues, went 14-3 in 2012, but was not re-signed after posting a 3.97 ERA. In 2015, Alfredo Figaro, a hard-throwing pitcher from the Dominican Republic, went 13-7 with a 3.38 ERA and helped Samsung win its fifth straight Korean Series, but Figaro collapsed after giving up 10 runs (nine earned) in eight innings in Game 2 against Doosan. Samsung has even had foreign pitchers like Esmaylin Karidae, who came to Korea on a “medical tour.

The best foreign pitcher in Samsung’s franchise history

Buchanan, who made his big league debut with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2014, won six games in 20 starts for Philadelphia, but struggled the following year, going 2-9 with a 6.99 ERA in 15 games, and was released by the team after the 2016 season. Buchanan joined the Yakult Swallows of Nippon Professional Baseball for three years prior to the 2017 season and earned double-digit wins in 2018, but was released in 2019 after going 4-6, 4.79.

When Buchanan donned a Samsung uniform ahead of the 2020 season for a total of $850,000, Samsung fans had mixed expectations. No foreign pitcher had won double-digit games in the four years between 2016 and 2019, the end of the dynasty. But in 2020, his first season with the team, Buchanan emerged as Samsung’s foreign ace, tying the club’s record for most wins in a season by a foreign pitcher (15), a record held for 22 years by Baker in 1998.

Buchanan improved even further in 2021, when Samsung finished second in the regular season and qualified for the playoffs, going 16-5 with a 3.10 ERA, breaking the franchise record for most wins by a foreign pitcher in a single season. Last year, when another foreign pitcher, Albert Suarez, was plagued by terrible luck and was limited to six wins with a 2.49 ERA, Buchanan posted a team-high 11 wins and a 3.04 ERA, the best in his three years in Korea.스포츠토토

Buchanan, who became Samsung’s longest-serving foreign player when he re-signed with the organization last December for a total of $1.6 million, has been a steady presence on the mound this year despite the team’s extreme struggles and fall to last place. Buchanan, who has started 16 games this year without skipping a rotation, has pitched consistently with a 6-6 record and 3.05 ERA with 10 quality starts. Buchanan picked up his sixth win of the season on Aug. 8 against NC, tossing seven innings of two-hit ball with five strikeouts and two walks.

Known for his seemingly stoic demeanor on the mound, Buchanan rarely shows emotion, but when he’s not on the mound, he entertains fans and teammates with his dugout antics and antics. In particular, he performs individual gestures with the team’s top hitters, including Koo Ja-rook, Oh Jae-il, and Pirela. Samsung fans hope that the ace Buchanan, who brings a lot of joy to fans on and off the field, will continue to play for Samsung for many more years.

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