“Everyone except Sanchez in 5 innings “” KIA’s only concern, “ERA 6.49,” left another question mark

August 7, 2023 0 Comments

Foreign pitcher Mario Sanchez , who became the only worry for the KIA starting team, left another question mark. His earned run average soared to 6.49 as he failed to get past five innings in two consecutive games.

KIA coach Kim Jong-guk said, “Didn’t all the starters throw more than 5 innings except for Sanchez?” ahead of the match against Hanwha in Gwangju on the 6th, and said, “The starter needs to throw 5 innings to prevent bullpen overload,” and expected Sanchez to digest the innings.

As head coach Kim Jong-kook said, Sanchez is the only KIA starting pitcher who failed to fill more than five innings in 14 games in the second half. Another alternative foreign pitcher, Thomas Panoni, played 6⅓ innings in the last two consecutive games, while domestic starters Yang Hyun-jong, Lee Eui-ri and Yoon Young-chul were also responsible for at least five innings.

However, Sanchez failed to fill the fifth inning against Hanwha following the match against Pohang Samsung on the 1st (seven runs in four innings), leaving regret with five hits (one home run), four walks, six strikeouts, and four runs in four 2⅓ innings. He struck out four until the third inning and blocked them without losing a point, but in the fourth inning, he gave up his first run with a solo home run by Noh Si-hwan, followed by Kim In-hwan’s walk and Chae Eun-sung’s hit, allowing Ha Joo-seok to turn the game around.

In the end, he couldn’t withstand the fifth inning and walked Kim Tae-yeon after one out, and while the third change-up was wild on the outside one-bound, the runner went to third base. Sanchez threw another change-up with the next ball, but Noh Si-hwan broke through the KIA infield’s front defense and connected a heavy hit at the right time. In the end, Sanchez handed over the mound to Choi Jimin without finishing the inning.

Sanchez’s total number of pitches on the day was 94, with 63 strikes and 31 balls. He used five types of pitches, including a maximum of 149km, an average 144km fastball (44), a changeup (19), a cutter (12), a curve (11), and a slider (8).

He struck out well, but his pitching was not overwhelming. Hanwha hitters consistently fouled Sanchez’s ball near the zone, and Sanchez and one batter who played more than seven pitches each inning came out. Roh Si-hwan walked eight pitches in the first inning and Choi Jae-hoon walked nine pitches in the second inning. In the fourth inning, Noh Si-hwan hit a home run after a seven-ball match, and Kim Tae-yeon also walked seven balls in the fifth inning.

Sanchez escaped defeat with the help of the KIA lineup, but on the 1st against Pohang Samsung, 4 innings, 10 hits (1 home run), 1 walk, 4 strikeouts and 7 runs, he struggled, failing to exceed 5 innings in 2 consecutive games. His season ERA rose from 6.14 to 6.49.

On the 9th of last month against KT in Suwon, he made an intense debut with a victory with 5 hits (1 home run), 10 strikeouts and 1 run in 6⅓ innings, but the pitching is increasingly uneasy. On the 26th of last month, when he won his second win, the match against Changwon NC was also not good with 9 hits in 5 innings, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts and 3 runs. It needs a period of adaptation, but KIA’s concerns have grown as it has been sluggish for the third game during the ranking fight.

When the double kicking motion, which was a long-standing habit, became controversial, it was banned, but sluggishness has continued since then. He struck out 33 in 26⅓ innings in five games, but his batting average (.297) was close to 300. He has a high slugging percentage with 5 home runs and 10 doubles. He is not a pitcher, but in the match against Hanwha that day, he did not listen to his pitch with 4 walks. Sanchez’s rebound for the rest of the season is desperately needed for the KIA, which jumped into the 5th round with the second half of the second half (8 wins, 4 losses, 1 draw, .667 win rate) with the power of the burning batting line at the forefront.


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