‘KBO’s reverse export myth’ Merrill Kelly 바카라(34-Arizona Diamondbacks) pitched his best game of the season before suffering an unfortunate injury.
Kelly pitched a seven-inning, one-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts and no walks in a home game against the Cincinnati Reds at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, on 25 May (KST). He threw 86 pitches. He had a good strike/ball ratio with six walks.
It was his fifth seven-inning start of the season. His previous four seven-inning outings had all resulted in runs, but today he bounced back with just one run and a whopping 12 strikeouts.
His strikeout parade began in the first inning. He started by striking out the first batter he faced, TJ Friedle, on a changeup and induced a wild swing. In the second, he struck out Christian Encarnacion-Stand two batters later. Again, it was a changeup that got the strikeout. In the third, he gave up a leadoff double to Noelby Marte, but got out of the jam with two strikeouts and a pop fly.
After retiring the side in order in the fourth with two strikeouts, Kelly bounced back with two infield grounders and a strikeout in the fifth.
His strikeout parade continued in the sixth. He struck out Will Benson and Tyler Stephenson in succession. He then retired Friedle on a grounder to first base.
The big inning was the seventh. Matt McClain, El De La Cruz, and Spencer Steer all struck out in the ‘KKK’. His 12 strikeouts were his most of the season. It also tied Curia’s career high. He previously struck out 12 against the Los Angeles Dodgers on 21 May 2021. His previous most strikeouts in the KBO was 11. He got it against Lotte on 12 April 2017.
Kelly also took the mound in the eighth inning with his team leading 1-0. However, he didn’t pitch any further. During a practice pitch, she felt something wrong. He had to come off the mound because he felt pain in his hamstring.
The team explained that he “strained his right hamstring and ended his outing.” It was reportedly not a major injury.
Kelly had what it took to get the win, but the bullpen committed arson. Fortunately, Arizona rallied in the bottom of the eighth to win 3-2.
Merrill Kelly complains of hamstring discomfort./Getty Images Korea
Kelly is a KBO reverse export myth. He joined the SK Wyverns in 2015 and spent four seasons in Korea, posting a 48-32 record with a 3.86 ERA in 119 games and 729⅔ innings.
His success in South Korea led to his return to the major leagues. Kelly, who had never made it to the big leagues before coming to Korea, returned to the United States in 2018, signing a 2+2 year deal with Arizona.
He lived up to the club’s expectations in his rookie season in 2019, going 13-14 with a 4.42 ERA in 32 games, and had a breakout year last year. In 2022, he went 13-8 with a 3.37 ERA in 33 games, establishing himself as the team’s “ace. His performance earned him a spot on the USA’s World Baseball Classic (WBC) squad. Keeping up the momentum, she was named the starting pitcher for the WBC final.
This season has been just as good. She’s 23-10 with a 2.97 ERA in 136 1/3 innings in 23 games.
Meryl Kelly/Getty Images Korea
Meryl Kelly/Getty Images Korea