The LG Twins’ No. 1 defensive strategy is being shaken to the core as foreign ace Casey Kelly, 34, struggles to find his groove.
LG lost 4-6 to the SSG Landers in their regular-season home game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League on April 22 at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. Unable to snap a two-game losing streak at the end of the first half, LG fell to 49 wins, two draws and 31 losses, leaving them 1.5 games behind second-place SSG (47 wins, one draw and 32 losses).온라인카지노
Even a quality start (6+ innings, 3 earned runs or less) was hard to come by as starter Kelly gave up 5 runs on 6 hits (1 HR) with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts in 5 innings. He allowed a hit in every inning except the third, and after the third, he cut back on his four-seam fastball and relied more on his changeup, but it didn’t work as the SSG bats responded with ease. He threw 92 pitches (27 curveballs, 25 four-seam fastballs, 16 two-seam fastballs, 14 cutters, and 10 changeups), topped out at 150 mph, and induced only seven swings and misses.
Kelly finished the season with a 6-6 record in 19 games, a 4.65 ERA, and 75 strikeouts in 112 1/3 innings. It’s a disappointing performance for the ace of a championship contender. It’s not even up to the standard that LG manager Yoon Kyung-yeop has set for the fourth team.
Before the game, Yeom talked about reserving the fifth starter spot for younger players and set a threshold of three runs in five innings. He said, “The most important point for our team in the second half is how to quickly build the third and fourth starters. “We only need one guy to establish himself as the fourth starter,” he said. “We just need five innings and three runs. We have a bullpen that can get five or more runs out of the bats, and we have a bullpen that can protect those runs. If you look at it that way, our starters are really happy. If we can get that (five-inning, three-run outing) consistently, we can win 10 or more games. A prime example of that is Min Ho Lee last year (12-8, 5.51 ERA).”
In the common baseball adage that “baseball is a pitcher’s game,” the importance of starting pitchers, who are responsible for more than 70-80% of the game, is overwhelming. The faltering of the ace, who is supposed to anchor the center of the starting lineup, is fatal for a team that wants to go beyond the top spot in the regular season and win the Korean Series.
This is why the phrase “should we have replaced Kelly” has been a recurring theme this season, from theories of a last-minute replacement in the first half to trades for foreign pitchers. However, Yeom Kyung-yup and LG dismissed the speculation by pitching him in the first game of the second half against second-place SSG.
Coach Yeom said, “Kelly is the first starter. In terms of symbolism, yes. After the first half, I told myself that Kelly would play the first game of the second half,” he said, adding, “Through the interview, I confirmed that what the player thought and what I thought were in line.” He explained his decision to start Kelly.
But once again, Kelly failed to live up to expectations. According to KBO rules, any foreign player who is designated for assignment after August 16 is ineligible to play in the postseason that year. With less than a month to go before the deadline, the baseball world is eagerly awaiting to see what LG, which is considered the favorite to win the title with a strong batting lineup and strong bullpen, will do about its only weakness, the starting pitching staff.