“Now it’s just a matter of pitching long innings.”
Despite the slump after a promising start, the KIA Tigers still have faith in foreign pitcher Mario Sanchez, 29.
Sanchez has pitched five innings or less in four straight games. In three games in August, he went winless and lost one. In his first start, a 6⅓-inning, 10-strikeout, one-run performance against the Suwon KT Wiz on July 9, he seemed to signal the emergence of a new innings-eater in his second start, a 6⅔-inning, 10-strikeout, four-run performance against the Gwangju Doosan Bears on July 21. But since then, he has struggled.
There’s a lot of stress. There were protests from the opposing bench about the set position, which involves a large bend in the knees and lower back when a runner is on first base. In the debut game against KT, not only the set position, but also the double kicking protest was added. The umpires pointed out the balkable double kicking, but decided that the set position was not a big problem as long as it was ‘consistent’. However, the set-up process did not allow Sanchez to concentrate on his pitches, as the umpires called for a first base check. Sanchez’s mid-90s fastball and sweeper, which he had been utilizing to mesmerize hitters, began to dull. Some analysts have suggested that opposing teams have already analyzed Sanchez’s pitching motion to counter his fastball and changeup. From KIA’s perspective, they can only hope that Sanchez can regain the form he had at the beginning of his career. 메이저놀이터
KIA manager Kim Jong-guk said of Sanchez’s pitching form, “It’s now well established. There were no unnecessary movements against the Lotte Giants on the 13th,” he said. He emphasized, “He knows that he has no problems as long as he pitches with consistency,” adding, “Now it’s just a matter of throwing long innings.”
Sanchez wasn’t the only foreign pitcher to falter after a strong start. All pitchers who debut in the KBO with a higher level of skill than their Korean counterparts can’t escape the analytics of their opponents, and Sanchez is in the process of doing just that. However, for KIA, which is fighting for a late-season title, the sooner Sanchez regains the form he had in his debut, the better to gain momentum in the race for the top five. Here’s hoping Sanchez finds his composure sooner rather than later.