Skyrocketing goals, mounting stress, it was all coming… Sanchez must win, and Kia must laugh.

Was it too much to ask?

KIA Tigers substitute foreign pitcher Mario Sanchez (29) has continued to struggle. After making his shock debut against the KT Wiz in Suwon on March 9 with 6⅓ innings, 10 strikeouts and one run, he has struggled to pitch a quality start (6+ innings, 3 earned runs or less) a month later. Against the Lotte Giants at Sajik Stadium in Busan on March 13, he gave up five runs (one earned) on seven hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts in five innings for his second loss of the season. An error by infielder Kim Kyu-sung led to the big inning, but it was unfortunate that he was unable to overcome the situation himself.

Sanchez, who joined the Kia after playing in the Taiwanese Professional Baseball Organization, was known for his outstanding fastball and an unusual pitching preparation move in which he would sign with the catcher before bending his knees deeply and twisting his back toward first base. He took the loss against the Gwangju Doosan Bears on April 21, but went 6⅔ innings, striking out 25 batters and walking just one, earning the trust of the KIA bench.

Sanchez, who relies on a mid-90s fastball and a sweeper, has long been known for his excellent command and aggressive approach to the strike zone. In his KBO debut, he used this to his advantage, pitching six-plus innings in back-to-back starts.

However, Sanchez hasn’t shown much stability since then. He pitched five innings or less in four consecutive games, starting with the Changwon NC Dinos (five innings, nine hits, one walk, three strikeouts) and ending with the Lotte game. His walks, which were just one in those four games, spiked to four against the Gwangju Hanwha Eagles on April 6. After giving up five runs in his first two games of six-plus innings, he’s given up 15 runs in his last four. 메이저놀이터

Teams facing Sanchez lately have focused on maximizing his pitch count. They recognize that his velocity has dropped dramatically since his last 80+ pitch outing. Subtle changes in pitching form are also a checkpoint.

Sanchez has been under a lot of stress, too. In particular, he can’t help but be frustrated by the fact that the opposing bench’s appeals for set positions and blocking movements are still being made, and that the umpiring staff, which changes after every start, is not always able to keep them straight.

Foreign pitchers are a target for any team that wants to see more than their domestic counterparts. They are more closely analyzed and their strategies are more sophisticated. This was especially true for Sanchez, who had been a top pitcher in Taiwan, a country with a similar environment to the KBO. The thorny path was somewhat predictable.

After replacing both of their foreign pitchers in a game to reach the top five, KIA ran out of cards. They need Sanchez to perform well in his remaining starts to have any hope of reaching their goal. Only if Sanchez comes through the ordeal will KIA be able to smile.

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