The Kia Tigers have another problem in their starting lineup. Foreign pitcher Thomas Pannoni, who formed a “one-two punch” with ace Yang Hyun-jong, is suddenly faltering.
Pannoni started a home game against the Doosan Bears of the 2023 KBO League on Sunday at Kia Champions Field in Gwangju, but struggled, giving up five runs (four earned) on eight hits in five innings. KIA fell to 3-8 and lost its fourth straight game, with Pannoni taking the loss.
Panoni gave up early and often. He retired the first two batters of the second inning, but gave up a two-run homer to Kang Seung-ho, who has been the hottest hitter in the Doosan lineup lately, and a single to left field to Yang Seok-hwan with runners on first and second in the third. Earlier in the inning, Kim Jae-ho made an error when third baseman Byun Woo-hyuk failed to catch a fly ball, but it was technically a hard hit, so there was no walk or anything else.
Panoni gave up three more runs in the top of the fifth, giving up a home run to Yang Seok-hwan, a double to Park Joon-young, and a long shot to left-center field with runners on first and second. He hadn’t thrown a single four-pitch at bat, but the damage was done.
In his previous start, against the Daegu Samsung Lions on April 12, Panoni gave up seven runs in five and a third innings. He gave up one home run and walked three. After rejoining the KBO as a substitute last year, Panoni showed good form, going 4-1 with a 2.81 ERA in nine games between his July 12 comeback start at Gwangju Samsung Electronics and his September 6 start against Doosan Jamsil. It was almost as if he was taking revenge for not being re-signed last season.먹튀검증
The last two games have been a struggle. They came against batters he had previously pitched well against. Against Samsung, Panoni pitched four innings of two-run ball in his return to the KBO, and against Doosan, he threw six shutout innings just ten days earlier. He was the winning pitcher in a 7-1 victory.
He is a proven pitcher, so his sudden struggles can only be attributed to a decline in fitness. However, KIA is currently in a difficult position to rest Pannoni as Lee and another foreign pitcher, Mario Sanchez, have been sidelined with injuries.
Sanchez, who was sidelined with an elbow injury, recently completed a rehabilitation pitch. He is expected to return to action on April 21. Lee will also make one start before heading to the Hangzhou Asian Games.
Just when the starting rotation could be at full strength, there’s an unexpected twist. Panoni’s absence is a blow as the team heads into the fourth week of September with a game on Monday.