With everything on the line in the fight for third place, the NC Dinos finally send out new foreign pitcher Tanner Tully (29). Can he make his predecessor, Taylor Widener (29-Samsung Lions), go away?안전놀이터

The NC announced Tanner as the starting pitcher for their 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League home game against the Hanwha Eagles at Changwon NC Park on the 15th. This comes 11 days after the signing was announced.

“Tanner has been in the starting rotation in the minors, so he’ll be joining us right away,” NC head coach Kang Myung-ho said on the 6th, adding, “He’ll be pitching as early as next weekend.” However, he opted to take the safe option instead of the best-case scenario and is set to make his debut on the 15th.

Born in 1994, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound left-hander was a 26th-round pick of the Cleveland Indians (now the Guardians) in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft. Tanner made his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut last year, posting a 6.00 ERA in three big league appearances with no wins or losses. In the minor leagues, he compiled a 44-51 record with a 4.18 ERA in 159 career appearances, and this year he made 19 starts for Triple-A New York Yankees, going 5-5 with a 5.64 ERA.

Tanner Tully in his major league days. /AFPBBNews=News1
Being a consistent starter is a plus. Tanner has started the majority of his career minor league games (131), and he’s made every one of them through the last 28 days. Add to that the fact that he’s walked 164 batters in 787 1/3 innings in the minors, or 1.9 per nine innings.

The two are different characters in the sense that Widener, his predecessor, was a bit of an up-and-down pitcher. After missing nearly two months early in the season with a back injury, Widener pitched six innings of two-hit ball in his return, striking out nine and walking none, before collapsing for nine runs in the next game. In his four outings in the month of July, he had a rollercoaster of 4⅓-6 innings-4-6 innings.

“We had a reason for replacing Widener, so we had to prioritise innings pitched, so we signed Tanner, who has been a consistent starter in the minor leagues,” said NC general manager Lim Sun-nam after signing Tanner.

Taylor Widener. /Photo=NC Dinos
As of the 14th, NC is in fourth place with a winning percentage of .521 (50 wins, 46 losses, 1 draw), two games behind third-place KT Wiz. The Dinos are still in the hunt for third place, despite the fact that they won a lopsided series against KT last weekend. Tanner’s arrival comes as a welcome relief for the team, which has been losing players to string injuries since the start of the season and recently lost homegrown ace Goo Chang-mo (26).

It also comes at a good time with ace Eric Peddie (30) faltering somewhat. After being the league’s best ace with just two losses during a 14-game winning streak through July, he piled up losses against Sasik Lotte on the 2nd (4 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs) and Suwon KT on the 13th (5 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs (1 earned)). Pedi’s burden will also be eased.

However, his inability to find chemistry with the starting catcher is a concern. NC removed Park Se-hyuk from the first team roster on the 14th. Park, who was substituted in the previous game after feeling discomfort in his wrist, was diagnosed with tendinitis in his left wrist after a medical examination. He will join the rehabilitation group on the 15th. The player most likely to see the most battery time is gone from the first game. Tanner will likely be paired with first-backup Ahn Jung-yeol (28).

NC’s Koo Chang-mo (right) walks off the mound after suffering an injury in the bottom of the first inning against Jamsil LG on 2 June. /Photo=NC Dinos
Tanner’s addition restores NC’s depleted left-handed starting rotation. Choi Sung-young (26), who suffered a facial fracture after being hit in the face during a game, returned to action against SSG on the 9th, while Koo Chang-mo will begin full technical training this week.

Widener, who had made quality starts (6+ innings pitched, 3 earned runs or less) in each of his last two games with the NC, went 6⅔ innings in his Samsung debut (against SSG in Incheon on the 13th), albeit giving up four runs on 10 hits. From Tanner’s perspective, this is the least he can do to dispel the narrative about Widener.

Tanner Tully during his time in Cleveland in the MLB. /AFPBBNews=News1

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