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Top speed 94.3 mph (151.8 km/h). But a knife-like fastball. That’s what KBO reverse-export myth Merrill Kelly (Arizona Diamondbacks) and Ryu Hyun-jin (36) have in common. 

Kelly started Game 2 of the 2023 Major League Baseball postseason World Series against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, on Sept. 29 (ET) and pitched seven innings of one-run ball, throwing 89 pitches, striking out nine and walking none. He earned the win in his first career World Series start. 

Kelly was perfect in the first inning. He got leadoff hitter Marcus Semien to fly out to center field. All seven pitches he threw were outside, including a seven-pitch slider that induced a 2B-2S double play. 

He got the next batter, Corey Seager, to pop out to shortstop on a low changeup in two pitches and then got Ivan Carter to ground out on a cutter low in the strike zone. After mixing his low and high pitches in the second inning to get out of a jam, Kelly got two strikeouts and a grounder to end the inning. 

In the bottom of the fourth, Kelly allowed her first hit of the day. After retiring Semien and Seager to load the bases with two outs, a low outside changeup to Carter was hit for a single to center field. Kelly was unfazed, however, and got Adolis Garcia to fly out to right field on two pitches. 

Kelly gave up his only run of the night in the fifth inning. With counts 1B-1S, he threw a low sinker to leadoff hitter Mitch Garber. Garber waited and swung at it. The ball hit Garber’s bat and sailed over the left field fence. It wasn’t a strike, but it was a low pitch that Garber was able to follow well. 

Texas Rangers’ Marcus Semien and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Merrill Kelly in the sixth inning of Game 2 of the World Series on Sept. 29./MLB.com Gameday

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Semien showed off his “command” by hitting a borderline fastball. Kelly only threw a low, outside pitch to Semien, the leadoff hitter. After two pitches were called strikes just off the borderline, Kelly followed up with five pitches in the exact same spot for a 2B-2S pitch. 

A check on MLB.com Gameday showed that the pitch was just outside the strike zone, but the second and fifth pitches were in the exact same spot. Kelly then retired Seager and Carter without issuing a single walk. 

With two more strikeouts in the seventh, Kelly retired the side in order in the bottom of the eighth. Seven innings, 89 pitches, three hits, no walks, nine strikeouts, one run. A perfect game, to say the least. Behind Kelly’s performance, Arizona cruised to a 9-1 victory and evened the series at 1-1. 

On this day, Kelly reminded me of Major League Baseball legend Greg Maddux. Maddux was a legendary pitcher in the 1990s for his velocity and command. He could put almost any pitch in the zone at any speed. 

His velocity wasn’t high, but his ball movement was fantastic, and his command was one of the best in major league history. Another pitcher we recognize with a similar style is the “Korean Monster” Ryu Hyun-jin. 

He’s not a power pitcher with a fastball, but he uses a precise mix of pitches and command to get hitters out, especially after returning from his second Tommy John surgery, where he used a slow curveball that averaged 66 mph (106.2 km/h) to get a lot of strikeouts. 온라인카지노

Kelly is also a four-seam fastball pitcher, averaging between 90 mph (144.8 km/h) and 94 mph (151.3 km/h). On this day, Kelly didn’t throw much offspeed, with a 94.3-mph sinker topping out at 151.8 mph. 

However, it did hit all corners of the strike zone. When necessary, he threw his changeup outside the strike zone to induce swings and misses.He cooked Texas hitters with six ingredients: a curve, sinker, changeup, cutter, slider, and four-seam fastball. 

After totaling eight walks in his previous three postseason starts, Kelly didn’t allow a single wild pitch in Game 2 of the World Series. He also struck out a career-high seven batters to earn his first postseason Quality Start Plus (7 innings, 3 earned runs or less).

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