‘KBO export myth’ Kelly becomes MLB World Series ‘game-winning pitcher’

‘KBO export myth’ Kelly becomes MLB World Series ‘game-winning pitcher’

Merrill Kelly (Arizona) became the first pitcher to pitch a complete-game victory in the best-of-seven MLB World Series.

Kelly started Game 2 of the 2023 MLB World Series against Texas at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, on Monday (Sept. 29) and pitched seven innings of three-hit ball, striking out nine and walking one to lead the A’s to a 9-1 victory. Arizona, which had lost Game 1 5-6 in extra innings the day before, used Kelly’s performance to even the series at one game apiece.

Kelly is a former KBO big leaguer who played for SK (now SSG) from 2015-18. In 2018, he won a championship ring after clinching the win in Game 3 of the Korean Series. He made his big league debut with Arizona the following year after winning the KBO title, and has been a steady performer ever since, becoming a mainstay on the team and eventually a World Series “starter”.

On this day, Kelly used a mix of pitches to shut down the Texas offense: a changeup (22), cut fastball (21), fastball (17), sinking fastball (15), slider (10), and curveball (4), and he didn’t walk a single batter until Evan Carter singled up the middle in the fourth inning.

His only run came on a solo home run to Texas leadoff hitter Mitch Garber in the fifth inning with a 2-0 lead, but he didn’t falter and went back to his signature “knife-edge” delivery, striking out Marcus Simeon, Corey Seager, and Carter in the sixth. In the seventh, he retired two of the three batters he faced on grounders to short.

While Kelly was unflappable on the mound, the Arizona offense pounded out nine runs on 16 hits. Gabriel Moreno led off the fourth inning with a solo shot over the center field fence, and two batters later, Tommy Pham doubled and Luerdes Gurriel Jr. singled through the left side to score a run.

The seventh inning brought more runs. Alec Thomas led off with a double and Evan Longoria followed with an RBI single. Two batters later, Corbin Carroll singled through the left side to extend the lead to 4-1.토스카지노

Arizona put the game out of reach with a big inning in the eighth. Two walks loaded the bases, and Ketel Marte and Carroll followed with back-to-back RBI singles. Emmanuel Rivera’s RBI double in the bottom of the ninth sealed the win.

Kelly also said that the KBO experience will be beneficial for this year’s postseason. When local media pointed to Kelly’s lack of MLB fall ball experience as a weakness for Arizona, he responded, “In Korea, 30,000 people fill the stadium every postseason, and half the crowd cheers every time a batter steps up to the plate, singing different chants.” He said he’s already played on the big stage in Korea.

In fact, in his four postseason starts this year, including this one, he has gone five or more innings in each game and is 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA. In three of those outings, he held opposing batters to one run or less.

Kelly’s success has also changed the attitude of the local media. “Kelly is the first pitcher to start a World Series game since 2020 to go at least seven innings in that game,” wrote local outlet Arizona Sports. “Only four players in MLB World Series history have struck out more batters than Kelly without giving up a walk, including Clayton Kershaw (11 in Game 1, 2017),” MLB.com reported.

“I had dreams (of playing in the World Series), but at the time it was just a dream,” Kelly said after the start, “and Arizona brought me here. I’m grateful to them for the opportunity.”


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