Samsung’s foreign pitching woes ease after best performance since arriving in Korea

Samsung Lions foreign-born pitcher Denny Reyes delivered his best pitching performance since joining the KBO.

Reyes started against the Lotte Giants in the 2024 KBO League at Sajik Stadium in Busan on Nov. 11 and pitched 6⅔ innings with six hits, one walk, five strikeouts and no earned runs. It was his first quality start (six innings pitched with three earned runs or less). Reyes’ performance led Samsung to a 4-0 victory over Lotte. The series sweep extended Samsung’s winning streak to five games. The team improved to 7-1-1 on the season and moved into seventh place.

Reyes threw a total of 107 pitches on the day. He used a mix of fastballs, two-seamers, cut fastballs, and changeups to cook the Lotte hitters. He allowed runners to reach base in every inning, but showed off his crisis management skills to keep the game scoreless.

Reyes struck out Yoon Dong-hee to lead off the first inning and got Kim Min-seok to ground into a double play. However, Victor Reyes gave up a single to left, but Reyes got Jeon Jun-woo to fly out to center field to end the inning.

Reyes took the mound again in the second inning with two runs on two hits, including a double by Kang Min-ho. He got Jung-Hoon Jung to fly out to center field, but gave up a single to left to Lee Hak-Joo. He got Son Ho-young to ground out to shortstop and Choi Hang to fly out to third to end the inning.

Reyes’ scoreless inning continued in the third. After giving up a leadoff walk to Yoo Kang-nam, Reyes struck out Yoon Dong-hee and got Kim Min-seok to fly out to end the inning.

Reyes again walked the leadoff batter in the fourth inning. Reyes was hit by a pitch to center field. But this time, he didn’t give up a run. He got Jeon Jun-woo to fly out to center, Jung Hoon to ground out to shortstop, and Lee Hak-joo to fly out to center.

In the fifth inning, they had their first three-hit inning. Reyes drew an 11-pitch walk to leadoff hitter Son Ho-young. He got Choi Hang to ground out to second and Yoo Kang-nam to ground out to third.

Reyes continued his dominance in the sixth inning. He gave up a leadoff single to Yoon Dong-hee, but struck out Kim Min-seok, got Reyes to hit a line drive to shortstop, and got Jeon Jun-woo to fly out to center field to get back to the dugout.

Reyes was back on the mound in the seventh inning. He gave up a single to leadoff hitter Jung Hoon and a walk to pinch-hitter Hwang Sung-bin. Reyes gave up an infield single to Lee Hak-joo in front of the pitcher. The pitch deflected off Reyes. Reyes laid down a sacrifice bunt to Son Ho-young, putting runners on second and third with no outs. After a 10-pitch battle with Choi Hang, Reyes struck out on a swinging strikeout to give himself a breather. When Lotte sent Lee Jung-hoon to the plate in place of Yoo Kang-nam, Samsung decided to replace Reyes.

Lim Chang-min took over and gave up a walk to Lee, but got Yoon Dong-hee to fly out to center field to end the threat. After Reyes was removed, Lim and 토토 Oh Seung-hwan pitched the remainder of the inning, and Kim Heon-gon’s RBI double in the ninth inning gave Samsung the win over Lotte.

After the game, Reyes said, “I took the mound today with the intention of throwing at least five scoreless innings to help my team win. I threw 107 pitches and it was definitely my will. Pitching coach Jung Min-tae and catcher Kang Min-ho came to the mound several times and told me that I was throwing well and to take a breather,” Reyes said, adding that his teammates helped him get the win.

“Choi Hang, who was the last batter, really wanted to strike out, and I didn’t want to give up a run. He had already thrown a lot of pitches and knew he had to go down. I didn’t have any regrets,” he said.

Reyes has had some of his best performances since joining the KBO. In his debut, he allowed one run on six hits and one walk with two strikeouts in six innings against the Suwon KT Wiz on March 24, but struggled against the Daegu SSG Landers on March 30, allowing six runs on eight hits and two walks with five strikeouts in 2⅔ innings. On April 5 against the Gwangju Kia Tigers, he allowed five runs on seven hits, two walks, one home run, two strikeouts and five hits in five innings.

Manager Park Jin-man was pleased with Reyes’ pitching, giving him a thumbs-up, saying, “He pitched the best pitch the team wanted from him.”

Reyes had a disappointing start. However, he pitched a perfect game against Lotte to rebound. Will Samsung be able to solve its foreign pitching woes?


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