Charlie Barnes (28), the Lotte Giants’ “left-hander” who was once on the verge of being dropped. But he’s been racking up wins despite a shaky second half.
Barnes started the home game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against the NC Dinos at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan on Feb. 2, giving up three runs on seven hits in six innings with six strikeouts and three walks.
It certainly wasn’t a perfect outing. After giving up a hit in the first inning, Barnes struck out two in the second. In the third inning, he gave up a leadoff single to Son Ah-seob and then a wild pitch that put runners in scoring position, and Kwon Hee-dong’s single to left scored a run.
Leading 2-1 in the top of the fourth, Jason Martin and Yoon put runners on first and third with back-to-back singles to Do Tae-hoon and Park Se-hyuk to cut the deficit to 3-2. In the top of the fifth inning, the hosts had runners on first and second with no outs, but Park Gun-woo flied out to left field and Martin struck out to end the threat. Even Yoon Hyung-jun got the final out with a fly to center field.
After throwing 92 pitches in the fifth inning, Barnes took the mound in the sixth. After giving up back-to-back hard-hit balls to Do Tae-hoon and Kim Joo-won, Barnes faced another run threat. But he struck out the tricky Sohn Ah-seop on a fly ball to center field to end the inning.
Barnes left 10 runners on base on the day and was not happy with his performance. “It wasn’t easy to pitch today,” he admitted, but he was able to hang in there and take some of the pressure off the bullpen, which was exhausted from the extra-inning game the day before. “We had a lot of pitches before the sixth inning, and we trusted him to go one more inning,” said Lotte manager Larry Sutton.
Including this game, Barnes has won all three of his starts in the second half, posting a 1.93 ERA. In his first start of the second half, he threw 5⅔ scoreless innings with five hits, five walks and two strikeouts against Sajik Kiwoom on March 21, and followed it up with a quality start (six or more innings pitched and three or fewer earned runs allowed) against Jamsil Doosan on March 27 with seven innings, five hits, one walk, seven strikeouts and one run.
In fact, Barnes was on the verge of being shut down for the entire first half. Before the All-Star break, he appeared in 16 games, going 5-6 with a 4.57 ERA. His innings pitched were also problematic, as he threw 82⅔ innings, barely exceeding five innings per game. His walk rate increased from 2.3 per nine innings last year to 3.4 in the first half, and his pitch count increased from 15.8 to 16.9 pitches per inning. He hasn’t shown any signs of being a foreign ace.
The biggest problem was the ups and downs. Barnes had a 7.58 ERA in the month of April. He didn’t have a single quality start (6+ innings, 3 earned runs or less), but he rebounded in May with a 1.82 ERA in four games. In June, it rose again to 4.38, and the last two games of the first half were a tale of two halves: seven innings, 11 strikeouts and one run (July 1 against Doosan in Ulsan) and one and a third innings, four hits and four walks and six runs (July 13 against the Changwon NC). Lotte pitching coach Kim Hyun-wook (53) analyzed, “Barnes’ early struggles were due to difficulties with his pitching design and delivery.”
However, Lotte used its two foreign replacement cards on pitcher Dan Streeley (35) and outfielder Zach Rex (30), meaning Barnes was automatically retained. “It’s good when you’re good,” Kim said before the start of the second half. The key is to keep it up,” Kim said of Barnes before the second half.토토사이트
Despite the pitching concerns, Barnes has gone five innings or more in every game of the second half. Barnes’ rebound is certainly a welcome one as the two homegrown starters, Park Se-woong (28) and Na Gyun-an (24), who led the team’s starting rotation in the first half, have struggled in the second half. New foreign pitcher Aaron Wilkerson (34) has also gone five innings in both games, easing concerns about innings pitched.
Lotte remains in seventh place with a season winning percentage of 0.477 (42-46) after two days. They are 2.5 games behind the fifth-place NC and still have hope for fall baseball. The Lions need Barnes to stay consistent if they want to go higher.