The team with the most organized power in the current league is by far the ‘leading’ LG Twins. There is no problem with pitchers or fielders. As there are enough resources available, a big crisis won’t come if one or two people are left out. This is why LG has been able to stay at the top for a long time.
The bullpen, which was deeply troubled by the sluggish performance of Go Woo-seok, Jung Woo-young, and Lee Jeong-yong at the beginning of the season, also got closer to perfection as the game went on. Four pitchers, 스포츠토토 Park Myeong-geun, Baek Seung-hyeon, Yoo Young-chan, and Ham Deok-joo, alleviated the team’s worries by building a new Pilseungjoo.
In particular, Ham Deok-ju, who was traded from Doosan Bears to LG ahead of the 2021 season, is having the best season after moving the team this year with 4 wins, 14 holds, 4 saves and an average ERA of 1.58 in 52 games, 51⅓ innings. Along with Kim Jin-seong, he is the pitcher who played the most games in the entire league, and is firmly guarding one axis of the bullpen.
If you look at it differently, LG can’t help but worry about Ham Deok-ju’s fatigue. There is Lee Woo-chan who can lead long innings, but if you look at ‘Pil Seung-jo’, there is only one left-handed pitcher, Ham Deok-joo. It is not just a problem of the regular season, but it is a part that needs management for the team’s ultimate goal of ‘winning’.
How is LG preparing? Prior to the 15th game of the season against Kiwoom Heroes in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League held at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on the 13th, LG coach Yeom Gyeong-yeop said, “Our team has a pitcher to catch a left-handed hitter. “It doesn’t matter if a left-handed pitcher is strong against left-handed hitters. Regardless of the type, being strong against left-handed hitters is more important, so I don’t really care about the type of pitcher,” he said.
In fact, Kim Jin-seong has a lower batting average against left-handed batters (0.173) than right-handed batters (0.192), and Yoo Young-chan, who has no significant difference in batting average between left-handed batters (0.207) and right-handed batters (0.208), is not significantly affected by the type of hitter.
Director Yeom Gyeong-yeop said, “Even Park Myeong-geun has a changeup, so he uses both left-handed and right-handed hitters. Ko Young-pyo (KT Wiz) and Lim Ki-young (KIA Tigers) are not weak against left-handed hitters, so those pitchers can also become left-handed hitters. He said, “Even in the case of Ham Deok-joo, he is much stronger against right-handed hitters than left-handed hitters, so he uses it more in matches against right-handed hitters. At least this year, while using some curves and sliders, he can also use them against left-handed hitters.”
In the case of this season, Ham Deok-joo continues to play an active role regardless of left-handed batter (0.193) and right-handed batter (0.124), but until last year, he was struggling in matches against left-handed batters. If you broaden the range by career performance, the hit rate (0.235) against left-handed hitters is slightly higher than when against right-handed hitters (0.232).
Coach Yeom Gyeong-yeop said, “I can’t throw a changeup at all against left-handed hitters. The player himself says that the ball will come out that fits his body. I told him to throw it, but I think we need to practice throwing a changeup with a left-handed hitter from camp. It’s weak,” he said.
While Ham Deok-joo is doing his part enough, LG, which has to think about fall baseball, is preparing a ‘left-handed hidden card’. This is Lee Sang-young. After being discharged from Sangmu in June of this year, he appeared twice in the first team and suffered a sluggish ERA of 6.75 with one loss in 5⅓ innings, and stayed in the second team for nearly two months. After his entry was canceled, he focused on having time to reorganize to the extent that he did not play a single game in the Futures League.
Manager Yeom Gyeong-yeop said, “We are preparing for Lee Sang-young to be able to deal with left-handed hitters. I think he will need it in the postseason.” Therefore, after checking how well it works, we will decide whether or not to enter the postseason.”