Hanwha Eagles pitcher Jang Si-hwan (36), who held the dubious honor of being the longest losing streak in history, finally broke his 19-game losing streak after a 1036-day wait.
Jang came in to pitch the bottom of the seventh inning of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League game against the KIUM Heroes at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on May 25, trailing 3-6.
Coming out of the game in a losing situation, it was hard to think of a victory, but Hanwha scored a huge run in the top of the eighth inning to dramatically end the losing streak.
Hanwha sent a whopping 18 batters to the plate in the top of the eighth, scoring 13 runs on 10 hits and five walks. Hanwha’s 13 runs are tied for the second-most in a single inning. The batting order is also the second highest in the KBO after Sajik Lotte (3) on April 7, 2019.
With the score suddenly 16-6, Jang Si-hwan was naturally in line for the win. Hanwha brought in Joo Hyun-sang in the eighth and Han Seung-ju in the ninth to seal the win, and Jang was able to celebrate.
Jang holds the distinction of having the longest losing streak in KBO history. He has lost 19 consecutive games since September 27, 2020, against the NC Dinos.
Jang, who until last year tied Shim Soo-chang’s all-time record for the longest losing streak with 18 consecutive losses, became the subject of an unwelcome record on April 1 against Kiwoom in the season opener.
Jang pitched the bottom of the 10th inning of extra innings with the score tied at 2-2 and gave up a game-tying hit to Lee Hyung-jong to take the loss and suffer his 19th straight defeat.
After making two more appearances and failing to perform well, Jang returned to the first team earlier this month after spending more than three months on the second team.
Since his return, Jang has mostly pitched in high-scoring situations, but he was able to break his long losing streak with a lucky save. Coincidentally, he also snapped a 19-game losing streak at the same venue where he lost 19 straight.
The last time Jang was a winning pitcher was on September 22, 2020, against the Doosan Bears. The victory came two years, 10 months, and 1036 days later.
When we met him after the game, his eyes were red. He had shed tears during the broadcast interview. The interview was followed by an intense water baptism by the junior pitchers.
“All I can say is that I’m happy,” Zhang said as he stood in front of the media, drenched. It can’t be this good,” he smiled broadly. “Three years passed like a movie in one hour. I once again realized how good it is to win,” he said with emotion.
During his 19-game losing streak, he suffered a lot. He even called Sim Soo-chang, who had experienced similar pain, and cried for a while. “I was always anxious,” Zhang said. If it’s a good record, I don’t feel anxious, but it’s a bad record. One day, I was honestly scared to go up to the mound. I even thought about retiring,” he said. “I decided to hang in there because of my family. Even if it didn’t work out, I tried to hold on even harder, and I think the time like today has come.”
Shim Soo-chang (MBC Sports Plus commentator) was also encouraging. “He said, ’18 or 19 losses in a row is not a good record, but the coach believes in you, so he sent you out.’ I think I tried to hold on even harder after hearing that. It made me think, ‘Yes, I believe in you, so let’s try one more time,'” he said.
He is grateful to his wife more than anyone else. “She’s married to me, and we’ve been through a lot together, and I’ve been through a lot during the 19-game losing streak. It’s hard for me, but honestly, it’s hard for the people watching. I’m grateful that she stuck with me and supported me when I was struggling. She is a grateful person who said a lot of good things.” He also expressed his gratitude towards his wife.
On this day, Jang Si-hwan personally cleaned Noh’s bat because he wanted to take the bad energy with him, and he wanted his juniors to take the good energy with them.
He said, “I wiped it because it was so dirty (laughs). I believe in a little bit of luck. Si-hwan wasn’t doing well in the second half, so I cleaned it before the game. When he hit the home run, I thought, ‘Luck is back,'” he said with a smile.
He also showed his support for his juniors. “I am a person who is used to bad things. I hope that the juniors will only do good things and perform well to contribute more to the team. If they do, the team will become better and stronger. I hope that the juniors will follow a good path,” he said sincerely.
As for his future goals, he said, “Now I’ll try to go on a winning streak (laughs). It’s important for the team to get to the top five. We’re only 2.5 games out of fifth place. I will try to be the driving force for the team to win 먹튀검증.”