Taylor Widener (Samsung) will try to escape the jinx. Widener will start the home game against KIA at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu on Wednesday, facing off against Thomas Pannoni (KIA). It’s a must-win game for Samsung, which hasn’t won since the second game of a doubleheader against Doosan in Jamsil on Sept. 9.
For Widener personally, it could be a chance to break the jinx. Since joining Samsung, Widener has suffered from the so-called “fondant fondant jinx,” where he pitches well in one game and then struggles in the next. In his first start after the move, he struggled against SSG on March 13, giving up four runs on 10 hits with one walk and two strikeouts in 6⅔ innings. On the 18th, he picked up his first win in the bullpen against KIA in Daegu, throwing six scoreless innings with five hits and seven strikeouts.
Unfortunately, the upswing was short-lived. On the 25th against Kiwoom, he gave up seven runs on 11 hits (one home run) in 4⅔ innings with two walks and five strikeouts. It was his fourth loss of the season. On the 6th, he started against Lotte in Ulsan and didn’t get the win, but pitched well, allowing two runs on four hits in 5⅓ innings with three walks and four strikeouts.
Manager Park Jin-man commented on Widener’s performance against Lotte, saying, “I was worried that he would be shaky at first because it had been a long time since he pitched, but he was strong against Lotte. He did a good job as a starting pitcher,” but he needs to show more consistency.
The Samsung bench is also struggling to manage the starting lineup as Widener, who is supposed to form a foreign one-two punch with David Buchanan, has been up and down.
The game against KIA on the 12th is the next in the sequence for Widener to have a bad game. It’s also a chance to break a bad pattern. This is something that Widener needs to do if he wants to climb higher, both individually and for Samsung.
One positive is that Widener has been strong against KIA. Both of his starts this season have been wins. In his first start against KIA on June 17, when he was still with the NC, he pitched six innings, gave up four runs (three earned) on four hits (one home run) and two walks while striking out seven. On June 18, he recorded his first win since joining Samsung against KIA.
Widener, who has been on a so-called pomp and circumstance since becoming the newest member of the Samsung family, will be able to escape the jinx with a strong performance against KIA in the bullpen.