Merrill Kelly (35, Arizona Diamondbacks), known as the ‘KBO reverse export legend,’ engraved his name in Major League (ML) history with his sharp-edged command.먹튀검증
MLB.com, the official Major League Baseball website, said on the 30th (Korean time), “Kelly not only had the most amazing starting game of his life in Game 1 of the World Series watched by his grandparents, parents, and siblings, but also gave the most dominant pitching in the World Series. “He praised it.
Previously, in Game 2 of the 2023 Major League Postseason World Series against the Texas Rangers held at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, USA on the 29th, he became the winning pitcher with 3 hits (1 home run), no walks, no walks, 9 strikeouts, and 1 run in 7 innings. Arizona defeated Texas 9-1 thanks to Kelly’s fightback and the batting line’s performance, and balanced the series at 1 win and 1 loss.
It was truly a pitching that will go down in history. MLB.com said, “Kelly was the 5th pitcher in World Series history to allow 1 run while striking out at least 9 without a walk in 7 innings. The others are Clayton Kershaw (LA Dodgers) in Game 1 of 2017 and Game 1 of 2009.” “The only players are Cliff Lee (Philadelphia Phillies), Roger Clemens (New York Yankees) in Game 2 in 2000, and Don Newcomb (LA Dodgers) in Game 1 in 1949,” he explained.
His name was proudly included in the history of the Arizona team. Kelly became Arizona’s first pitcher to win an away game in the World Series, and became the Arizona pitcher with more than nine strikeouts in the World Series, following Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. Likewise, he became the first pitcher from the KBO league to enjoy a World Series victory.
The secret was control. In the first game alone, Texas had nine long and short hits, defeating Arizona’s first starter, Zack Gallen, and Paul Seewald, who finished this year’s postseason scoreless, but was helpless against Kelly’s control that seemed to have measured the angle using a computer.
As the number of pitches increases, stamina decreases and ball control becomes unstable. However, in the 7th inning, the last inning, Kelly used his irrefutable command to create a three-way inning with two looking strikeouts, drawing exclamations from local broadcasters. Adolis Garcia hit a four-seam fastball that hit the outside corner, and Jonah Haim got caught up in a tailing sinker coming toward his body and lowered his head, making fans click their tongues.
MLB.com also noted, “Kelly’s family remained in awe even after he threw the 89th and final pitch. The final pitch was a sinker that went as far as the inside half to get the third strike count.”
He continued, “Kelly has stepped up to the next level in the postseason. He is 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his last four postseason starts. So far, all of his appearances have been on the road, and he has yet to hear a roar from the fans when he comes off the mound. “I haven’t experienced it,” he added.
As Kelly continues to win, his KBO history continues to be highlighted. Kelly was one of the common minor league prospects who had never even stepped onto the big league stage before joining SK in 2015. He headed to Korea at the age of 26 and left behind a record of 48 wins, 32 losses, and an ERA of 3.86 in 119 games over four years. In 2018, his final year, he left after leading SK to a Korean Series win.
When he signed a 2+2 year contract worth up to $14.5 million with Arizona ahead of the 2019 season, the expectation for him was to be a fourth starter. However, he was the only Arizona starter to play full time, effectively serving as the first starter. In response to this, the club exercised all of the two-year club options and gave him a two-year contract extension worth $18 million starting this year ahead of the 2022 season.
Earlier this season, he represented the United States at the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) and took the mound as the starting pitcher for the finals. Afterwards, he played 30 games (177⅔ innings) in the regular season with 12 wins, 8 losses, and an average ERA of 3.29, leading Arizona to the postseason, and is currently challenging to win the World Series. Until then, not many people expected Kelly to perform at this level. But Arizona ace Gallen believed in Kelly and finally proudly introduced his teammate.
“It took Kelly a while to get recognized, but it was worth it,” Gallen told The Athletic. “I’ve always said Kelly is the most underrated pitcher in baseball, but he got on the mound regardless and he did it.” “When he steps on the mound, you will see why he is an underrated pitcher.”