Charlie Barnes and Dan Straily, who are supposed to be the ‘aces’, have collapsed again. It was reminiscent of their April struggles.
Barnes and Stratton are off to their worst starts of the season. Barnes went 1-0 with a 7.36 ERA in three exhibition games, and Straily went 1-0 with a 6.43 ERA in two. There were hopes that things would change once the regular season began, but the reality was different. The poor form from the exhibition games carried over into the regular season.
In the month of April, Barnes went 1-1 with a 7.58 ERA in four games. In those four games, Barnes pitched just 19 innings, which is less than five innings per game. Unsurprisingly, there were no quality starts (6 innings or less). Straily wasn’t much different. Straylor lasted just 21⅔ innings in five games, going 2-0 with a 5.82 ERA.
There was a good reason for the struggles of the trusted one-two punch. In Barnes’ case, it was a change in pitching form from his set position. The change in form inevitably affects his arm angle and delivery, and he struggled during the adjustment period. In the case of Straily, a combination of being a slow starter and not being in perfect physical condition affected his performance.
Barnes and Striley worked tirelessly to rebound, and by May, they were back to their old selves. Barnes recorded his first quality start of the season on 10 May, throwing 6⅔ scoreless innings against the Doosan Bears, and went on to go 2-1 with a 1.82 ERA in four starts. Straily also showed signs of life against Doosan, going 2-2 with a 2.31 ERA in four starts.
But since June, he’s been disappointing again. Barnes struggled against the LG Twins on the 1st, allowing five runs (four earned) in five innings. He followed that up with two runs (one earned) in seven innings against the KT Wiz on the 7th, but was pulled early against the Hanwha Eagles on the 13th after giving up three runs (three earned) on four hits and five walks in 3⅓ innings. The 13th was a 7-5 win thanks to the bats, but it certainly wasn’t a walk-off win.
The same could be said for Straylor. In his first start of June, Strillie continued his strong June form with a seven-inning, two-run performance against the KIA Tigers. However, in his last two games, he hasn’t lived up to the ‘hairy ace’ moniker. After giving up five runs (four earned) in five innings against KT on the 8th, he gave up six runs (six earned) on seven hits (two homers) and three walks in four innings against Hanwha on the 14th. The six runs were the most allowed in a game this season 스포츠토토.
From the start of the game, she was pounded non-stop. She got off to a shaky start in the top of the first when she gave up a leadoff single to Lee Jin-young and a walk to Jung Eun-won. She then got Noh Si-hwan to fly out to right field to give her some respite, but was hit by a 132km slider two pitches later by Chae Eun-sung for two runs. Straylor was then hit by a pitch to Kim In-hwan and was once again in trouble, this time giving up an RBI single to Kim Tae-yeon.
Even after giving up three runs, Straylor couldn’t seem to settle down, as he gave up a single to Moon Hyun-bin with runners on first and second. Fortunately, he got the next batter, Park Sang-un, to fly out to second base and struck out Lee Do-yoon on a 130km slider in a seven-pitch battle to end the inning without further damage.
The innings changed, but not for the better. In fact, the Hanwha batsmen began to hit more and more pitches to the centre of the bat. After giving up a walk to Jung Eun-won in the second inning, Stratton was hit by a 144-kilometre high fastball from Noh Si-hwan for a two-run home run over the centre-field fence. The ball travelled 130 metres and you could almost feel it go over the fence.
With the bases loaded in the third inning, Stratton again gave up a home run, this time to Moon Hyun-bin, on a three-pitch fastball in the middle of the 145km strike zone. Moon’s shot was shorter than Noh’s home run, but it reached a whopping 172.8 kilometres per hour, and while no runs were scored, in the fourth inning, with the bases loaded and two outs, Noh again hit a direct hit to the right field fence.
Lotte doesn’t have much bullpen depth these days, with relievers Kim Sang-soo and Kim Jin-wook, who were the driving forces behind the team’s April-May surge, being sent down to rest, and “long-haired closer” Kim Won-joong also taking a break due to back muscle stiffness. The starting pitchers, especially the foreign one-two punch, are desperately needed. However, the ‘aces’, who showed a rebound in May, are struggling again.