LG Casey Kelly, the “longtime foreign pitcher” who was rumored to be replaced, shook off his doubters with his best pitch of the year. It was his first no-hitter of the season.
Kelly started the game against the Lotte Giants of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, South Korea, and pitched eight innings of seven-hit ball, striking out four and walking one. It was his first no-hitter in 15 appearances this season. He lowered his ERA from 4.69 to 4.26.
Kelly has struggled in his fifth year in the KBO. His 4.69 ERA in his first 14 games is the worst of his career. His worst start in the last four years was in 2020, when he had a 4.65 ERA through 14 games.
He seemed to come alive in May, going 4-1 with a 2.73 ERA in five games, but he gave up six runs in 1⅔ innings against Hanwha on May 11. It was his lowest innings pitched since his KBO debut. There was also talk that Kelly could be replaced, as general manager Cha Myung-seok was in the United States looking at foreign players for next season.
However, at this point, it is difficult to replace a foreign pitcher during the season. Just look at the quality of the alternatives. The only exception is SSG, who brought in Loenis Elias, who has major league experience. All other teams took a gamble. 메이저놀이터
Hanwha was the first to make the switch, bringing in starting pitching prospect Ricardo Sanchez, who had been pitching in the minors this year. Doosan brought back Brandon Waddell from Taiwan, and Kiwoom brought in Ian McKinney from the independent league, which isn’t even a minor league.
This leads to the conclusion that Kelly’s rebound is the best-case scenario. Kelly showed promise against Lotte on April 23. He went seven innings without giving up a run or walking four.
He did give up a run in the eighth inning, but it was due to an infield interference. Kelly gave up a leadoff single to Yoo Kang-nam and then laid down a sacrifice bunt to Kim Min-seok with the bases loaded. Hwang Sung-bin, the leadoff hitter, collided with shortstop Oh Ji-hwan at second base. The umpires called LG’s run interference, putting Kelly in a bases-loaded jam.
He got the out but couldn’t prevent the run from scoring. After giving up a sacrifice fly to Ko Seung-min in center field, Kelly bent down to express his disappointment. However, the run was recorded as an unearned run. LG gave up the final run in the ninth inning to fall to 1-2. Instead of a win, LG had to settle for Kelly’s rebound.