“I didn’t have time to look at the runner on first base.”
KIA manager Kim Jong-kook smiled wryly. As a result, Mario Sanchez (29) was given a ruling that he was not double-kicking, but was allowed to do his trademark “squat check”메이저놀이터. However, the posture must be consistent. The shoulder movement must be towards first base. If the shoulder does not open to first base and goes towards the batter, it is a “deceptive act”, according to the KBO Referee Committee.
However, in the second half of the game against Doosan on the 21st, we didn’t see Sanchez squatting at all. Maybe he didn’t want to be controversial, but that’s not the case. When the game against Doosan in Gwangju was cancelled due to rain on the 23rd, Kim Jong-kook said, “You just need to be consistent and relaxed in your actions. I don’t think I care about it.”
He smiled and said, “I didn’t have time to look at the runner on first base. I kept getting doubles and home runs, so there were no runners on first base.” Kim’s story isn’t 100% true, but it’s pretty close. That day, Sanchez hit a double to Kim Jae-hwan in the first inning, then a solo shot to Jose Rojas in the fifth and a solo shot to Heo Kyung-min in the sixth.
Until the sixth inning, he had retired every batter he faced except for a double, home run, and home run. No runners were left on base. In the top of the seventh inning, Yang gave up a double to left field to Seok-hwan Yang and then a straight ball to Rojas, leaving a runner on first base for the first time.
The next batter was Kang Seung-ho. Sanchez worked a 3B1S count and threw a 145km fastball to the second baseman for an infield single before turning the mound over to Choi Ji-min. Sanchez didn’t squat once during this process, and rightfully so. With a runner on first and a runner on second, there was no reason to strand the runner on first. The battle against Kang Seung-ho was the most important. Yang and Rojas are not active runners.
This means that Sanchez will continue to use his trademark squatting check if he has to actively tie up a runner at first base. However, the umpires will be looking for consistency. The ability to strand runners is strictly a pitcher”s skill. The more runners you can prevent from advancing a base, the less likely you are to give up a run. In a broader sense, it’s also about managing your ERA.
That day, KIA lost the game when Choi Ji-min gave up a three-run triple to right-centre field to Park Joon-young with two outs. Although Sanchez ended up giving up four runs, his pitching was just as dominant as his debut against KT on the 9th. He has a variety of pitches, including a sweeper, and the effectiveness of his off-speed pitches is evident. He went 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two games.
Coach Kim Jong-kook said, “He came back from playing in Taiwan, and his pitch count is over 80, so he is struggling. But I think he will get better. His ability to strike out and throw strikes is good.” He proved why he was the number one starter in the second half.