Ohtani’s old rival has worst start at Triple-A, allowing six runs in ⅓ inning…’ERA 13.50′

Shintaro Fujinami (30-LA Dodgers), who rivaled Shohei “Idoryu” Ohtani (30-LA Dodgers) from high school through his early professional career, is struggling in the minor leagues.

Fujinami was the fourth pitcher for the Syracuse Mets (affiliated with the New York Mets) against the Triple-A Columbus Clippers (affiliated with the Cleveland Guardians) at NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse, New York, on Saturday (June 26) and struggled, allowing six runs (three earned) on six hits, four walks and one hit batsman in ⅓ innings. Syracuse lost the game, 1-9.

Fujinami took the mound in the top of the eighth inning with his team trailing 1-3, and immediately walked leadoff hitter Brian Labastida on a straight ball. He then walked Lorenzo Cedrola on five pitches. Between the two batters, he had only one strike.

To make matters worse, Fujinami walked Reynel Delgado on a full count and eight pitches to put runners on second and third. With the bases loaded, Fujinami induced a fly ball to center field against Miles Straw for the difficult first out.

Fujinami then faced Juan Brito and induced a one-pitch grounder to second base, but a throwing error by the second baseman allowed a run to score. With the bases loaded, Fujinami gave up an RBI single to Kyle Manzado and a walk to Jonathan Rodriguez to extend the lead to 6-1.

The Syracuse bench eventually pulled Fujinami and brought in Grant Hartwig, who got one out with a strikeout, but gave up a three-run triple to Daniel Schniman to drive in both runners and extend the lead to six runs.

Fujinami, who formed a rivalry with Otani in high school, was touted as the next ace of the NPB in his first year, posting double-digit wins (10-11-14) in three consecutive seasons (2013-2015).

However, his career has since gone downhill, as he has struggled with injuries, poor play, and personal life controversies. Ohtani, on the other hand, dominated the Japanese scene as a two-hitter before breaking into the major leagues in 2018, where he racked up a stellar resume that included American League (AL) Rookie of the Year and two unanimous MVPs (2021 and 2023).

Fujinami signed a modest one-year, $3.25 million contract with the Oakland Athletics via the posting system after the 2022 season to try his hand at the American game. After joining the Baltimore Orioles via trade in July of last year, Fujinami even got to experience fall ball in his rookie season, but he was released after posting a dismal 7-8 record with five losses, five holds and two saves in 64 games with a 7.18 ERA.

Fujinami, who possesses an impressive fastball that tops out at 102.6 miles per hour (165.1 km/h) but has struggled with his command, walking 5.13 batters per nine 먹튀검증 innings (45 walks in 79 innings), didn’t garner much interest in free agency. He finally got his shot at the big leagues when he signed a one-year, $3.35 million contract with the Mets on Feb. 15, just before the start of spring training.

However, Fujinami did not capitalize on the opportunity, going 1-0 with a 12.27 ERA in five exhibition games. He struggled with his pitches, walking four, hitting one, and striking out five in 3⅔ innings.

Fujinami, who eventually started the season in Triple-A, has an abysmal 13.50 ERA in seven games and one start. While he has struck out seven batters in 5 1/3 innings, he has walked 11 batters, hit two batters, and hit three batsmen. Unable to turn things around, Fujinami is inching closer to being released from the minors rather than returning to the majors.


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