“Peña throws like a pedi.”

That’s what a club official said after Hanwha’s foreign pitcher Felix Peña (33) pitched seven innings of one-hit ball (one home run), one walk, five strikeouts, and one run in a win over Samsung Electronics in Daejeon on March 10. On that day, Peña pitched very well in a no-hitter until the seventh inning. It was an unenviable pitching performance for Eric Peddy (NC), the best foreign pitcher in the KBO this season, but in the context of the season as a whole, it wasn’t really a comparison. I thought it was just a joke because of their similar names.토토사이트

But before and after this start, Peña started pitching like the real Pedi. After struggling to start the month of April, going 1-3 with a 5.48 ERA in five games, Peña has been dominant since May, going 5-1 with a 2.15 ERA in 10 games. He is tied for fourth in the league in wins and fifth in ERA in that span. His nine quality starts are the most in the league.

For the season, he has a 6-4 record in 15 games (85⅔ innings) with a 3.05 ERA and 66 strikeouts. He is tied for sixth in wins, eighth in innings pitched, and 10th in ERA. With left-hander Ricardo Sanchez quickly adjusting to the league and Peña thriving, Hanwha has built a foreign one-two punch that could be used against any team.

Peña’s performance against KT in Daejeon on April 27 was another highlight. He dominated the KT lineup with seven innings of four-hit ball, striking out nine and allowing one run (unearned). In the second inning, his nail bled, but he wiped the blood on his uniform pants and focused on each pitch. He stayed on the mound until the seventh inning and led Hanwha to its fifth straight win.

He threw three pitches, a fastball (42) that topped out at 152 kilometers and averaged 149 kilometers, a changeup (29), and a slider (26). As the weather heated up, his fastball with a lot of changeup was gaining strength, but the changeup he used as the winning pitch was powerful. “Peña’s changeup had the highest pitch value in the major leagues,” said Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho. In 2020, Peña’s last full-time season in the major leagues, his changeup ranked 58th in pitch value among 259 pitchers with 20 or more innings pitched, in the top 22 percent.

The changeup showed its power in this game as well. In the first inning, with runners on first and third, he struck out Anthony Alford and Byung-ho Park with consecutive changeups to end the inning without a run. In the fifth inning, Yoon-seok Oh was hit by Peña’s changeup and struck out swinging. The changeup dropped low in the strike zone and he couldn’t get his bat to follow it. Seven swings and misses on the changeup alone. He also induced five swings and misses with a big-angle slider that resembled a curveball.

After the game, Peña explained the condition of his bleeding nail: “I was throwing a slider and I cut my nail and it bled, but it’s not a big injury. I’ve scraped my fingers throwing sliders throughout my career, so it didn’t bother me. I just wanted to compete on the mound,” he said. “All the guys did their jobs, including (left fielder) Nick Williams, who pinch-hit in the seventh inning. The same goes for Jae-hoon Choi’s leadoff double. I’m grateful to all of them,” he said of his teammates.

Speaking about his improvement since May, Peña said, “I’m still working hard and adapting to the KBO. I’m proud to be able to help the team.” “I haven’t changed my pitching pattern much. I think the repetitive drills in the bullpen and my positive mentality have made a difference. The team has won five in a row, so the mood is really good. We can’t win all the time, but we work together with our teammates and coaches to get good results. We’re not losing too many games, and I think the team has gotten really strong. We have the strength to compete with other teams.”

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