“I couldn’t stay steady” The same diagnosis every time…Unwavering 1.3 Billion Furboace, is it okay as it is?

Dan Straily entered the KBO League as he connected with the Lotte Giants before the 2020 season. Straily became an “Ace” with a 15-4 ERA and 먹튀검증 a 2.50 ERA in 31 games in his first season, and recorded a 10-12 ERA and a 4.07 ERA in 31 games the following year. The appearance of the 2021 season was disappointing compared to the first season of his debut, but he still did his part.

Straily, who played in Lotte’s uniform for two years, took on a new challenge after the season. He immediately returned to the U.S. and sought to enter the Major League. Straily, 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 the spring camp. However, he failed to make any significant results in the U.S. and eventually failed to make it to the Major League.

Straily, who had been in the minor leagues all the time, joined hands with Lotte again. Lotte re-introduced Straily at the end of the 2022 season, raising the competition for the semifinals. And his performance was definitely up to expectations. Although Lotte failed to advance to the semifinals, Straily pitched in 11 games with a 4-2 ERA of 2.31.

However, his performance this season is full of regrets. Straily was sluggish with one loss and a 6.43 ERA in two exhibition games, and was not much different after the start of the regular season. Straily was below expectations with two losses and a 5.82 ERA in five appearances, including failing to record a single quality start (less than three earned runs in six innings) in May.

Coach Larry Sutton cited the fact that Straily is a “slow starter” and the age of being born in 1988. It’s all lame excuses, but because of this, Straily’s physical condition was not 100% in April. Straily struggled for a rebound amid an endless slump, and only regained his form in May.

In his first appearance in May, Straily recorded his first quality start in six games, with a 2-2 record and a 2.31 ERA. In his first game in June, he even pitched the best pitch of the season with two runs (two earned runs) in seven innings against the KIA Tigers. But the good flow didn’t last very long.

Straily has not pitched more than six innings since his second appearance in June. The best thing was five hits, two walks, eight strikeouts and no runs in five innings against the KT Wiz on the 20th. Since then, he has allowed one run in 5⅓ innings against the LG Twins and two runs in 52 innings against the Doosan Bears, which seems not bad in terms of the results, but the pitching content was not very good.

Coach Larry Sutton said, “Strayley’s number of pitches was not small, and the command was not steady when he chose to replace the moment he was recording two runs in five innings against Doosan on the 2nd before the match against Hanwha in Daejeon on the 4th. “It wasn’t that I had a lot of walks or bad control, but I don’t think my condition was steady in terms of control,” he said.

The result was not bad, but it was true that the pitching contents were unstable, such as sending out a runner every inning. The head coach said, “There were many cases where they went against each other in the number of fights and ball count fights.” And he created a lot of crises on his own. The scene where the in-field fly came out also overcame the crisis because the defense was good. And after Ko Seung-min’s mistake in judgment, he allowed two runs as he was hit, and he tried to change the flow of the game by operating the bullpen because the bullpen was not consumed much ahead of the holiday, he explained.

In the end, Straily is fighting with himself, not against his opponents. Straily is 3-5 with a 4.13 ERA in 15 appearances this year, with only four quality starts. He has not been able to pitch in six innings in the past five consecutive games. Although the head coach did not express it directly, it is clear that disappointment continues from the $1 million (about 1.3 billion won) ace.

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 FA (free agent) market, including a multi-year contract with “glasses ace” Park Se-woong. However, due to the recent severe slump, the ranking has fallen and the team has been chased by mid- and low-ranking teams, making it impossible to guarantee its advance to the postseason.

Currently, the foreign player market is not very good. This can be seen just by looking at the process of other clubs recruiting alternative foreign players. However, Lotte is in a frustrating situation where it cannot wait for the recruitment of new players and the revival of Straily.

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