I couldn’t be steady”
Dan Strayley entered the KBO League prior to the 2020 season when he contacted the Lotte Giants. Strayley became an ‘ace’ by playing 15 wins and 4 losses with an ERA of 2.50 in 31 games in his debut season, and the following year, he went 10 wins and 12 losses with an ERA of 4.07 in 31 games. The appearance of the 2021 season was disappointing compared to the first season of his debut, but he did his part.
Strayley, who played in a Lotte uniform for two years, took on a new challenge after the season. He immediately went back to the United States and aimed for his entry into the major leagues. Strayley, who did not sign a contract with Lotte, signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks and struggled to secure a spot in the starting rotation from spring camp. However, he failed to make any significant achievements in the United States, so he could not step on the major league stage.
Strayley, who had been to and from the minor leagues all along, joined hands with Lotte again. Lotte re-recruited Strayley at the end of the 2022 season, giving it a chance to compete in the top 5. And his performance certainly met his expectations. Although he did not lead Lotte to advance to the final 5, Strayley appeared in 11 games and recorded 4 wins, 2 losses and an ERA of 2.31.
But this season’s performance is full of regrets. Strayley was sluggish with 1 loss and 6.43 ERA in 2 exhibition games, and it did not change much after the regular season started. Strayley failed to record a single quality start (less than 3 ERA in 6 innings) in May, showing below expectations with 2 losses and an ERA of 5.82 in 5 appearances.
Director Larry Sutton cited the fact that he is a ‘slow starter’ and his age of 1988 as the biggest reasons for Strayley’s sluggish performance. It’s all lame excuses, but because of this, Strayley’s physical condition wasn’t 100% in April. Strayley struggled for a rebound in the endless sluggishness, and it was only in May that he regained his original form.
Strayley recorded his first quality start in six games in his first appearance in May, and went 2-2 with a 2.31 ERA. And in the first game of June, he showed off his best pitch of the season with 2 runs (2 earned) in 7 innings against the KIA Tigers. But his good streak didn’t last very long.
Strayley has not pitched more than six innings since his second appearance in June. The only good thing was 5 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts and no runs in 5 innings against the KT Wiz on the 20th. Afterwards, he gave up 1 run in 5⅓ innings against the LG Twins and 2 runs in 5 innings against the Doosan Bears.
Regarding the reason for choosing the replacement the moment he scored 2 runs in 5 innings against Doosan on the 2nd prior to the match against Hanwha in Daejeon on the 4th, coach Larry Sutton said, “Straley’s number of pitches was not small, and his command was not steady. It wasn’t that it didn’t work, but it seems that my condition wasn’t steady in terms of control.”
The result was not bad, but it is true that he was uneasy about the contents of pitching, such as letting a runner out every inning. The command tower said, “There were many cases where I was at a disadvantage in the number fights and ball count fights with batters. And I created a lot of crises myself. The scene where the infield fly came out was also a good defense, so I overcame the crisis. And after Ko Seung-min made a mistake in judgment, I hit. I allowed 2 points while getting hit, and since the bullpen was not consumed much at the time of the holiday, I tried to change the flow of the game by operating the bullpen.”
In the end, Strayley is not fighting the other batters, but fighting himself. Strayley is 3-5 with a 4.13 ERA in 15 appearances this year, with only four quality starts. He has not been able to show even pitching 6 innings in the last 5 games in a row. Although the command tower did not express it directly, it is clear that the disappointing figure continues from the $1 million ace (approximately 1.3 billion won).메이저놀이터
Prior to this season, Lotte spent a total of 26 billion won to recruit Yoo Kang-nam, Noh Jin-hyuk, and Han Hyun-hee in the free agent (FA) market, including signing a non-FA multi-year contract with “Ace of Glasses” Park Se-woong. However, as they suffered extreme sluggishness recently, their rankings fell, and they were pursued by mid- and low-ranking teams, putting them in a situation where they could not guarantee advancement to the postseason.
The current foreign player market is not very good. This is something you can understand just by looking at the process of other clubs recruiting substitute foreign players. However, Lotte is in a frustrating situation where it cannot wait for new players to be recruited or for Strayley to revive.