“If the team needs me, I don’t mind a four-day turn”
Brandon Waddell of the Doosan Bears started the 12th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against the Lotte Giants at Sajik Stadium in Busan on March 3 and pitched six innings, throwing 100 pitches, giving up five hits, one walk, and striking out four to earn his seventh win of the season.
It was a twisty turny start on the mound. Brandon was originally scheduled to take the mound against the LG Twins in Jamsil on Tuesday, March 28. However, due to the heavy rainfall in the Seoul metropolitan area, he was forced to postpone his start by a day, and that was just the beginning. Brandon’s start was canceled the next day when the game was also rained out.
Manager Lee Seung-yeop had already pushed back Brandon’s start twice, so for the final game of the three-game series against LG, he put “homegrown ace” Kwak Bin on the mound instead of Brandon. He then announced his intention to send Brandon to the field against Sasak Lotte on the 1st. However, there was a change again. This time, it was rain. Brandon, who was scheduled to start, was once again rained out of the game, and the next day, the same thing happened.
Doosan was faced with a grueling nine-game series, including a doubleheader, from the 3rd to the 10th, as the last two games were canceled. Unlike the midweek game against Lotte, where LG Electronics postponed Brandon’s start after two postponements, this time they kept him in the lineup until the end. “I don’t know if the ball will be stronger because he had more than 10 days off, or if his pitches will be shaky in terms of sensation in the beginning, but I have faith in him,” Lee emphasized, and the result was Doosan’s third straight win.
On the day, Brandon went six innings and didn’t record a single strikeout. However, with a fastball that topped out at 149km/h (35 pitches) and a mix of cutter (28 pitches), slider (20 pitches), and changeup (17 pitches), he was able to get out of several jams against the Lotte bats, recording a quality start (6 innings, 3 earned runs or less) and leading his team to victory.
Brandon was hit by a pitch to start the game in the first inning, but broke up the no-hitter with an RBI single. In the bottom of the second, he gave up a double to Nico Gudrum, but retired the next two batters he faced, including a bases-loaded walk in the third.
The biggest threat came in the fourth inning. Brandon had runners on first and third with one out when he gave up a double to leadoff hitter Ahn Chi-hong. Shortstop Kim Jae-ho, who was fielding a line drive hit by Lotte Goodrum, made a “super jumping catch” to prevent a run from scoring. With the help of the defense, Brandon continued his solid pitching by retiring the next batter, Han Dong-hee. The fifth and sixth innings were also scoreless to secure the win, and the bullpen pitched a ‘perfect’ game to secure the seventh win.
Aside from the significance of the game as the start of a nine-game series, Lee gave Brandon’s performance a thumbs-up as the team was mired in a three-game losing streak. “Brandon did a great job managing his physical condition even though his start was rained out four times. He pitched a quality start and a no-hitter, which is worth more than his record.”
His most recent start was on Aug. 23 against the Gochuk Kiwoom Heroes. His first start in 11 days. It wasn’t easy to stay healthy. After the game, Brandon said, “It was hard to manage my physical condition. I think my last start was 11 days ago, so I was struggling with my routine. But it’s something you can’t control, so I did the best I could as a player,” he smiled.
Brandon was quick to point out that escaping a three-game losing streak was more than just his performance, it was a team effort. “Barnes pitched very well against us, but it was a very strong team effort overall,” he said. We had some really good at-bats offensively in some spots, and I think that’s why we came out on top.”
Brandon was also grateful to Jaeho Kim, who made a “super jumping catch” in a potentially tying situation to take a load off his shoulders. “I couldn’t make a smooth catch because it was a hard hit,” Brandon said, “but Jaeho made an unbelievable defense. He was really good. I just said, ‘Thank you,'” he said, giving a thumbs-up.메이저놀이터
Doosan has gotten off to a good start in the nine-game series. Now it’s all about how they handle the remaining eight games. The starting rotation is not yet set in stone, but Brandon is open to a four-day rest rotation. “As a player, it’s always good to play,” he said, “so it’s open. I’m open to a four-day rotation if the team needs it,” he said.