He walks a whopping 5.07 batters per nine innings. Fans have questioned Shintaro Fujinami (29, Baltimore Orioles), who has consistently taken the mound despite having a fastball that can’t be used out of the bullpen.
Fujinami pitched ⅓ inning of one-hit ball with two strikeouts and one walk in his third appearance of the 2023 Major League Baseball (ML) season against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, USA, on July 21.
It proved to be the difference in a come-from-behind loss. Earlier in the day, Baltimore starter Kyle Bradish struck out six batters and walked two, while holding a 1-0 lead after Anthony Santander’s RBI single in the top of the first. But with Baltimore up 1-0, Fujinami, who took the mound after Jacob Webb (one scoreless inning), blew it. In the end, Baltimore fell behind 1-2 in the bottom of the ninth on a Mauricio Dubon RBI single.
Fujinami gave up a straight grounder to Jordan Alvarez, the first batter he faced, and then got John Singleton to fly out to second base. However, he gave up another straight fly to Jose Altuve and was eventually replaced by Mike Bauman, who left the game. Bauman gave up an RBI double to Jeremy Peña to increase Fujinami’s lead.
The loss brings Fujinami’s season record to 7-8 with two saves and a 7.31 ERA in 61 games. His velocity has been an issue, especially with 50 pitches in 76⅓ innings (43 strikes and 7 hits), and 10 of his 12 pitches were balls.바카라 It’s an embarrassing stat line for a guy who was known as a high school rival of Shohei Ohtani (29-LA Angels).
But Fujinami has consistently been used in tight situations. It also calls into question the mercenary skills of manager Brandon Hyde, who led Baltimore to fall baseball for the first time in seven years. A fan of Baltimore Baseball, a U.S. outlet that held a question-and-answer session with readers after the game, also asked about this.
Shintaro Fujinami. /AFPBBNews=News1
One fan named Tim Morfin wrote, “Fujinami seems to be the most inconsistent reliever in the Baltimore bullpen. Why in the world does Hyde keep using him at this point, especially in close games?”
The answer, according to the media, is “overpowering stuff. “Hyde is using Yoenis Cano as his closer in the absence of Felix Batista,” Baltimore Baseball wrote, “and in my opinion, it would be foolish to not even consider using a guy with an interesting stuff like Fujinami. Of course, his outing on the mound today (Aug. 21) was unusually problematic.”
Baltimore’s primary closer is Batista, a hard-throwing pitcher with a 100-mile-per-hour fastball. However, he was sidelined with shoulder soreness on March 26, and Cano has taken over the closer’s role. Cano has filled the void well, going 1-3 with seven saves in 67 games, a 1.94 ERA, and 59 strikeouts in 69⅔ innings with a reliable delivery.
If there’s a downside, it’s that the Baltimore bullpen doesn’t have a pitcher who can overwhelm opponents with his stuff in close games. Only six pitchers with more than 20 innings pitched have more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings, and of those six, only three have an ERA below four (Batista, Brian Baker, and Danny Colombe), and only Colombe is still with the team.
With the Orioles already clinched a postseason berth, it’s important for them to find a bullpen that can keep them in contention for the rest of the regular season. That’s why Fujinami, who has a 7.00 ERA, was kept in the rotation for the final stretch of the season.
As Baltimore Baseball notes, “Fujinami has shown inconsistent stuff, but his stuff can be overpowering (to opponents). Hyde will use the remaining 10 regular-season games to evaluate Fujinami.”