Nineteen innings, 0 walks, no runs, crazy! …Will he be born in KIA, “The Best Foreign Pitcher Ever”

KIA Tigers new foreign pitcher James Nail showed perfect pitching and succeeded in challenging for his third win of the season.

Nail started the first game of the season against the 2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League LG Twins held at Gwangju-KIA Champions Field on the 9th, and garnered seven hits, no outs, and seven strikeouts in seven innings to secure his third win of the season. With the victory, Nail also tied for the lead in the multiple wins category with Brandon Waddell (Doosan Bears).고소득알바

Nail calmly played the game from the top of the first inning. After dealing with LG’s table setters Hong Chang-ki and Park Hae-min with ground balls and fly balls, respectively, he faced a crisis of scoring capacity by getting a double hit by Kim Hyun-soo, but in his showdown with Austin Dean, he preoccupied the ball count in his favor with one ball and two strikes, and drew a swing and miss with his fourth sweeper.

His nails remained intact even when the leadoff hitter went to bed. After Moon Bo-kyung’s hit in the top of the second inning, he struck out both Oh Ji-hwan and Park Dong-won with just three balls, and with two outs and a runner on first base, Moon Sung-joo hit a fly ball to center field to tie the inning.

Nail, who had 11 pitches in the top of the third inning, was on the verge of getting first and second bases with no outs due to consecutive hits by two batters, Kim Hyun-soo and Austin, in the top of the fourth inning. However, he induced follow-up batter Moon Bo-kyung to hit a double play with one ball to fill two out counts, and struck out Oh Ji-hwan with two outs and a third base, continuing his scoreless streak.

After finishing the top of the fifth inning with three outs, Nail was shaken up by Park Hae-min’s surprise bunt with one out in the top of the sixth inning, and made a one-out, second base. However, he grounded out to two consecutive batters, Kim Hyun-soo and Austin.

Nail entered the top of the seventh inning with a lighter mind as the batters scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. He seemed to be shaken by consecutive hits by leadoff hitters Moon Bo-kyung and Oh Ji-hwan, but struck out Park Dong-won and Moon Sung-joo one after another and finished his task perfectly with Shin Min-jae’s groundout. Nail also exuded satisfaction and exited the mound.

Kia has been agonizing over foreign pitchers for several years. Except for Hector Noesi and Patdin, who served as starters in 2017 and 2018, and Aaron Brooks, who played for Kia in 2020 and 2021, there were no foreign pitchers who were crazy about their expectations. Up until just a year ago, Kia failed to manage its starters normally due to sluggish foreign pitchers.

As foreign pitchers’ performance greatly affects the team’s performance, KIA devoted its heart and soul to selecting foreign pitchers in preparation for this season. After looking at several players, they joined hands with two players, Will Crowe and Nail, who had experience in the big leagues.

In terms of his purely big league career, Crow, who played a full-time season, received more attention, but Nail was the pitcher who had high expectations in the spring camp. Nail showed off several pitches in bullpen pitching and live pitching since the first spring camp in Canberra, Australia, and the sweeper, who has a large left and right rotation, surprised KIA coaching staff and officials.

Up until the exhibition game, there were questions about whether Nail would adapt to the KBO league. Nail was disappointed with an ERA of 5.23 wins, one loss and one hold in three exhibition games. Notably, in the game against the Doosan Bears on April 14, his second appearance in the exhibition game, he gave up eight hits, one out, four strikeouts and six runs in three ⅓ innings. As batters aggressively dealt with Nail’s pitching, he quickly pulled Nail off the mound.

However, Nail, who showed confidence in her ball control, made a breakthrough through various pitches. Although she did not stand out in terms of career experience or ball power compared to Will Crow, another foreign player, she confused batters by actively utilizing two-seam, change-up, and cutter, as well as her main weapons, sweeper.

KIA manager Lee Bum-ho said, “When the exhibition game was in full swing, we just need to adjust to the strike zone of the KBO League and get to know each other. I am not worried because my ball power was good,” adding, “My nail may not be able to come up (100 percent) in April, but I can come up in May.” “We need to give foreign players enough time to adjust to Korean baseball. As long as they are not sick, they just need to get to know each other.”

Nail, who wanted to live up to the expectations of the head coach, recorded five hits (one homer) and nine strikeouts and one run in six innings, and even earned his first win at a home game against the Lotte Giants on the 27th of last month, his first appearance of the season. In the game against the Suwon KT Wiz on April 3, he also cruised to his second win of the season by allowing five hits, seven strikeouts and one run (non-earned) in six innings with no outs and no outs.

Nail, who is maintaining that trend, proved that she has fully adapted to the KBO league by showing off stable control without walking in the face-off against the “defending champion” LG. Nail will try to win four games of the season against the Hanwha Eagles in Daejeon on the 14th, according to the rotation.

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