‘The ball is the same, but the trajectory has changed’…Kelly’s winning move…’I changed my grip’ to ‘escape the slump’ [Eugene’s field 1mm].

Casey Kelly, the LG Twins ace for the past four years, has struggled this year,메이저놀이터 going 7-7 with a 4.59 ERA in 23 games.

With no sign of breaking out of his slump, Kelly did something different: he changed his grip, which changed his velocity and trajectory. It’s rare to see a pitcher change their grip during the season, but Kelly did. 

On the 22nd, the Lotte Giants and LG Twins were scheduled to play in the Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League 2023 at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. However, the game was cancelled due to rain that began to fall during the day. The on-and-off rain made it difficult for the players to train.

Kelly starts throwing the ball with a new grip / Jamsil = Yoo Eug-hyung Reporter zolong@mydaily.co.kr

After a brief break in the rain, Kelly took to the field to throw practice pitches. He threw the ball with the new grip and talked a lot with the bullpen catcher. She alternated between her old grip and the new one, asking the catcher what the difference was, and with a satisfied smile on her face, she kept throwing until she got the hang of it.

Pitchers’ grips vary widely. Pitchers have a basic grip, but each player uses their own grip to create and throw their own pitches. The way they grip the ball can change the trajectory and speed of the same pitch. 

Kelly, who first set foot on Korean soil in 2019, had four straight years of double-digit wins before last year, posting a 58-31 record with a 2.89 ERA in 114 career appearances, including a career-high 16 wins last year to lead the league in wins. This season, however, he’s been a completely different pitcher.

Kelly has been struggling this season / Jamsil = Eugene Lee zolong@mydaily.co.kr

Kelly is a pitcher who throws a variety of pitches with consistent command. He’s been dominating the KBO for the past few years with a variety of pitches, but he’s only in his fifth year. Korean hitters have already learnt to recognise Kelly’s pitches and understand his delivery. It’s inevitable that he’s going to struggle against them.

There are a number of reasons for Kelly’s struggles, but it all boils down to his pitches. His changeup, his go-to pitch against lefties, has struggled this season. Last year, Kelly’s BABIP was .179 against the changeup, but this season it’s .377. 

When the changeup was working, he increased his curveball usage. But it’s hard to face hitters with just a fastball and a curve. As a result, his four-seam fastball BABIP increased dramatically. Last year, his BABIP was .240, but this season it’s .341.

Kelly is pleased with the change in velocity and trajectory with his new grip / Jamsil = Eugene Lee zolong@mydaily.co.kr

So Kelly chose to change his grip and make changes to several pitches, including his changeup. ”With the new grip, I’m able to throw strikes consistently,” he said. It’s possible that he’ll be able to regain his command of his pitches.

He even asked to meet with manager Yoon Kyung-yeop ahead of the second half of the season in a bid to make a comeback. ‘Jamsil Jesus’ Kelly is desperate to make a comeback.

[LG’s Kelly, who started throwing the ball with a new grip/Jamsil = Yoo Yoo-hyung Reporter

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