Kiwoom Heroes’ efforts to improve the fitness of their starting lineup have backfired.
Kiwoom finished eighth out of 10 clubs with 21 wins and 29 losses through May. The offense was underwhelming due to the unexpectedly poor performance of leadoff hitter Lee Jung-hoo, and the bullpen was left open after reliever Kim Tae-hoon was traded to the Samsung Lions.
In the meantime, Kiwoom held on with the strength of its starters. Ace Ahn Woo-jin, who has risen to become the KBO’s leading pitcher, maintained a one-run ERA and paved the way for Kiwoom to win. Another Korean pitcher, Choi Won-tae, consistently delivered quality starts (QS-6 innings or less).
The Kiwoom coaching staff rested their starters one after the other ahead of the heat wave in July. The idea was to keep them well-rested and not focus on the one win in front of them, which would help them in the long run.
The problem was that the pitchers’ velocity dropped after the rest.
Choi Won-tae, who had recorded eight consecutive QS since May 10 against the LG Twins, was given 11 days of rest after his start against Samsung on May 20. However, in his comeback game against the SSG Landers on May 2, he looked shaky, giving up five walks. Although he only gave up two runs, he was unable to complete five innings, halting his streak of consecutive games with a QS. Choi Won-tae struggled against the Doosan Bears on the 8th, giving up five runs in six innings. Manager Hong Won-ki said the next day (Sept. 9), “Something seems to have changed after the break, such as his pitching balance.”카지노사이트
Regardless of the good intentions of the Kiwoom coaching staff in giving him a break, the fact remains that Choi’s pace has slowed down.
The same goes for the other starter, Chung Chan-heon. After being dropped from the first team roster on May 28 for rest, he made his first start in 12 days on May 9 against Doosan in Jamsil, but struggled, giving up six runs (five earned) in three and two-thirds innings.
Ahn Woo-jin, who was the first to be given rest in late May, also failed to make an impact. He faltered against the Gwangju KIA Tigers on June 28, giving up five runs in five and one-third innings, and against the NC Dinos on June 4, giving up four runs in six innings. Even against the KT Wiz on June 11, where he was strong with a 1.00 ERA, he suddenly faltered and gave up four runs. Ahn never gave up more than four runs in two consecutive games last season.
We can’t say that the balance of Kiwoom’s starting pitchers was thrown off by the break. However, the expectation that they would pitch with more power after getting their bodies and minds in shape was not to be.