Sanchez goes 2-for-2, washes away slump…but not before a win

For the second straight game, Hanwha Eagles foreign ace Ricardo Sanchez was unable to get the win.

Sanchez pitched six innings and allowed one run on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts against the Doosan Bears in the 2023 KBO League regular season opener at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon on Tuesday. His fastball continued to be powerful with a top speed of 153 km/h and an average of 151 km/h.

He recorded two consecutive quality starts (six innings or more and three earned runs or less) against the Gochuk Kiwoom Heroes on June 27, but failed to reach the six-win requirement for the season as the game remained tied 1-1.메이저사이트

By early July, Sanchez was the “untouchable” ace in Hanwha’s rotation. Although his innings were a bit short for an ace, he was a special pitcher with a 1.48 ERA. However, in his last appearance of the first half, on July 8 against the SSG Landers, he collapsed after giving up eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits in 3 innings, and in his first appearance of the second half, on July 21 against the NC Dinos, he struggled for two consecutive games, giving up five runs on 10 hits in 5 innings. There was a brief flurry of “crisis” talk, as his pitching habits were exposed.

But an ace is an ace is an ace. In his last outing on April 27, he pitched a perfect game. He allowed just two hits in seven innings, striking out four, walking seven and giving up two runs (one earned), his first quality start in 26 days.

He continued his dominance in the circle. He started against Doosan on April 2, when the team was in the midst of a three-game losing streak, and pitched a steady inning. He retired the side in order in both the first and second innings.

The third inning was the problem. It wasn’t Sanchez’s pitching, but his defense. Sanchez induced leadoff hitter Park Kye-beom to fly out to center field, where infielder-turned-center fielder Moon Hyun-bin failed to read the pitch. It was a hit for the record, but more like an error. Park Kye-beom stole second base and scored the go-ahead run on Kim Jae-ho’s single.

But Sanchez remained unfazed and continued to pile up strikes and outs. He struck out the top of the fourth with his signature slider, then gave up a walk to Yang Seok-hwan and retired Kang Seung-ho (on a wild pitch) and Kim Jae-hwan (on a grounder to the shortstop).

The sixth inning was the second bump in the road. After allowing only a bunt single in the fifth inning, Sanchez went to the mound in the sixth and was hit by a leadoff single by Heo Kyung-min. Heo fouled off two strikes like a veteran, and after a nine-pitch battle that saw Sanchez throw a curveball, fastball, slider, and changeup, Heo doubled.

Still, it was Sanchez who was smiling. He got Yang Seok-hwan to ground into a double play to get the first out of the inning, then walked Yang, the most threatening player in the Doosan lineup, on an intentional walk, and retired the next two batters on just three pitches to end the inning without allowing another run.

The victory was not without its challenges. Sanchez, who took the loss in his last start against Kiwoom, was forced to turn the mound over to Joo Hyun-sang in the seventh inning with the game tied 1-1 after five innings of one-run ball from Doosan’s Choi Won-joon and one inning of scoreless ball from Kim Myung-shin.

With both Sanchez and Choi down and a bullpen battle underway, the game remains tied at 1-1.