“I wonder if there has ever been a team like this in Korean professional baseball.”
Former Hanwha coach Carlos Subero said this as if he was regretful ahead of the last game of last season. It was a complaint about the brutality of foreign pitchers that Hanwha suffered last season. Last season, Hanwha had a difficult season due to an injury to a foreign pitcher. First and second starters Ryan Carpenter and Nick Kingham were replaced in the middle due to injuries. During the season, Felix Pena and Yefri Ramirez were recruited as substitute foreign pitchers, but the evil spirit of injury did not leave Hanwha. Pena was hit in the face by a batted ball, and Ramínez ended his season with a shoulder injury. Last season, the number of wins won by four foreign pitchers at Hanwha was only eight.
This season, too, it seemed that the ‘foreign fighter brutality’ continued. Hanwha, which renewed the contract with Pena, brought Birch Smith after verification, but left Hanwha due to an injury after throwing only 2.2 innings. Hanwha recruited Ricardo Sanchez during the season and formed the starting lineup.
Hanwha’s two foreign pitchers are finding a sense of stability.
This season, Pena is 3-3 with a 3.84 ERA in 8 starts. His grades seem average, but it is encouraging that his record improves over time. Pena started against Doosan on May 4 and allowed 2 runs while striking out 10 in 6 innings, and the team won 10-3. In the game against Samsung on the 10th, he conceded 1 run in 7 innings, and Hanwha won 5-1. In the match against Lotte on the 16th, Pena made a big success with 6 innings and 1 run. This season, Pena was sluggish with an average ERA of 5.48 in April, but is showing a change with 1.89 in May.
Pena, who first appeared on the mound against Kiwoom on July 3 of last year, gradually adapted by recording an ERA of 4 points in July and August, and then pitched well with 2 wins and 1 loss with an ERA of 2.70 in September. In the match against Lotte on September 20th, Pena ended the season with an injury suffered by An Chi-hong’s face, and Hanwha saw Pena’s potential and gave him another chance this season. Pena has become an indispensable pitcher in the Hanwha starting lineup.
Sanchez, who joined the Eagle Corps on behalf of Birch Smith, is also in the mood to receive a passing grade. Sanchez, who took the mound in Korea for the first time in the game against Samsung on the 11th, pitched 53 balls in 4 innings, giving up 2 hits and 1 walk. Sanchez, who also started against Lotte on the 17th, showed a quick adaptation to the league by throwing 71 balls and allowing 1 run with 3 hits, 1 walk and 3 strikeouts in 5 innings.
Hanwha succeeded in ‘rebounding in May’ with two foreign pitchers. The average ERA of Hanwha this season is 3.82, which is 7th in the league, but in May, it is ranked 1st with 2.76. His on-base percentage per inning (WHIP) is also the lowest in the league at 1.16. Hanwha has a record of 7 wins, 1 draw and 4 losses in May.
Reporter Jeong Pil-jae [email protected]
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