Even the best pitchers allow hits and give up runs. Even the most legendary pitchers of all time don’t have a zero ERA. Sometimes they’ll go a few games without giving up a run, and sometimes they’ll give up a ton of runs. But good pitchers are consistent.
Albert Suarez (Samsung Lions) is nicknamed Sukra. It’s a nickname he got because he doesn’t have a lot of luck. He pitched well and came down with the win, but his bullpen was on fire, costing him the game.
Entering the KBO in the 2022 season, Suarez had 19 quality starts (6 innings or less) in 30 games, ranking fourth with a 2.49 ERA. Ahn Woo-jin (Kiwoom Heroes), who leads the league in ERA (2.11), has 15 wins, Kim Kwang-hyun (SSG Landers) has 13 wins, and Adam Plutko (LG Twins) has 15 wins.
Of the eight pitchers with ERAs in the double digits, only Suarez (6-8) has fewer than 10 wins, including fifth-place Casey Kelly (LG Twins, 2.54) with 16 wins. Even among the 19 pitchers with an ERA in the triple digits, including teammates David Buchanan, Min-Joon Ko (KT Wiz) and Charlie Barnes (Lotte Giants), Suarez had the fewest wins.
Despite this ostensible performance, Suarez was re-signed through the 2023 season. His total salary increased from $1 million to $1.3 million. He just didn’t have the luck to win, but he was judged to be good enough to be a 10+ win pitcher.
Suarez’s bad luck continued into the 2023 season.
He’s made six quality starts in 10 games, but has yet to win a game. He has five losses.
He has the fewest wins and the most losses of any Samsung starter. This year, he’s still a force to be reckoned with.
He has pitched three no-hitters this season, but has only won once, against the Kiwoom Heroes on May 4. On April 28 against Suwon KT, he pitched a scoreless seventh inning and led 8-0, but the bullpen gave up eight runs in the eighth inning, costing him the win, and on May 24 against Jamsil Doosan, he pitched six scoreless innings, but the bats failed to produce a single run.
It’s worth noting, however, that Suarez has a history of giving up big early runs himself.
For starters, Suarez had 19 QS last year, but gave up four or more runs seven times. This year, it happened five times in 10 games.
His game against the Hanwha Eagles on April 4 is a prime example. He gave up four runs in the first inning and two runs in the second, 먹튀검증 giving up nine runs on eight hits and three walks in 4⅔ innings. This was his second consecutive big inning, following a three-run first inning against SSG in Munhak on May 30.
It didn’t stop there. In the second game of the 2023 season on April 2 against the Daegu NC Dinos, he gave up three runs in the second and third innings, resulting in six runs; on April 15 against the Daegu Lotte Giants, he gave up four runs in five innings; and on May 17 against the Daegu KIA Tigers, he gave up four runs in the third inning.
In fact, this phenomenon has occurred several times in the 2022 season.
In other words, a team would give up three or four runs in the first or second inning and then pitch well the rest of the way. Last year, there were four games where they scored four runs in one inning before the third inning.
Furthermore, he gave up four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning against the Changwon NC on July 3 and five runs in the top of the sixth inning against the Daegu KIA on September 18 after leading 5-0.
In other words, Suarez has given up too many runs in one inning. Worse yet, Suarez’s starts have been unreliable enough that a three- or four-run lead can be tied or blown in an instant. Of course, that’s because of the nine runs, but Suarez’s ERA this year has nearly doubled from 2.49 last year to 4.98.
For Suarez to be a solid one-two punch for Samsung alongside David Buchanan, he needs to cut down on the early innings. Only then can he make the transition from Sucrai to Susmile.