New foreign pitcher baptized with water bombs, adjusts to food…shows signs of success

July 2, 2023 0 Comments

“I feel so good.”

Kiwoom Heroes substitute foreign pitcher Ian McKinney started a home game against SSG Landers in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Gocheok Sky Dome Esery on April 1. He pitched six innings of three-hit ball with two walks and five strikeouts. His quality start (six innings of three earned runs or less) led Kiwoom to a 6-3 victory and earned him his first win in the KBO.메이저놀이터

After the game, McKinney was congratulated by his teammates. The pitching staff came onto the field with water bottles and waited for McKinney to finish his interview. When McKinney left the interview zone, the pitchers splashed him with water and congratulated him on his first win.

Despite being drenched, McKinney felt great. “I feel really good,” McKinney said. I’m really happy with the result today,” said McKinney. “I made a lot of good plays on defense, and I had good chemistry with my catcher, Kim Dong-heon. It was a team effort today,” he said, giving credit to his teammates.

McKinney, who was in trouble in the fourth inning but closed out the fifth and sixth innings with a triple play, said, “I should have taken two strikes and tried to be more precise with my pitches. I was so focused on my pitches that I didn’t listen to them. Even after I got two strikes, I think I should have tried to win the game like I did in the early count,” he reflected.

He also adjusted to the KBO’s official ball. “It’s different from what I’m used to in the States,” McKinney said. In the U.S., we usually pitch with mud on the ball. In Korea, they throw a brand new ball. It has a stickier feel to it. We’re using rosin every inning, and it’s paying off.”

At the time of his signing, Kiwoom described McKinney’s main pitch as a curveball. But in South Korea, McKinney has been using his changeup as his primary pitch. “I don’t feel like my curve is working as well. The changeup works better for me. If I utilize the difference in velocity between my fastball and changeup, I think I can feel stronger,” he said, expressing strong confidence in his changeup.

Regarding Korean hitters, he said, “There are a lot of contact-type hitters. They foul a lot and try to make in-play hits as much as possible,” he said. He added, “American hitters have big swings, so they have a high percentage of false swings and are able to strike out.” In the KBO, I think we need to actively attack the strike zone. I think I need to make some adjustments,” he said, vowing to do better.

The Korean food has also been a perfect fit. “The ramen is really good,” McKinney said. Pork belly and bulgogi are also good, but I’ve had them in the States. It’s localized, so it’s a little different from Korea,” he laughs.

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