Baseball is a pitcher game. Among them, a solid starting mound is the most important factor when evaluating power, and it becomes the criterion for dividing a strong team from a weak team. So, a stable starting lineup is no different from a ‘guaranteed check’ for advancing to the postseason.
KT’s performance in the second half of this 메이저놀이터 year draws attention. This is because KT, with a strong starting pitcher, emerged as the ‘eye of the typhoon’ in the second half of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League. KT won 3-1 in the home game against SSG held at Suwon KT Wiz Park on the 3rd, and swept all three matches during the week. The recent 6-game winning streak. KT, which once lacked ‘-14 wins’ in the 50% win rate, is maintaining 47 wins, 2 draws and 43 losses as of the 3rd. The gap between 3rd place Doosan, 4th place without a ride, and 2nd place SSG was also narrowed to 4 games.
KT’s emergency began with summer. KT’s performance since July is 16 wins and 6 losses, ranking first among 10 teams. Since July, the team’s ERA (3.26) is 1st, and the team’s batting average (0.281) is 3rd, so the pitching structure is good. The secret to success is starting pitchers. KT coach Lee Kang-cheol explained, “The starting pitchers continue to create games with concentration. As the starter endures, you can keep the lead situation. It is easy to use a pitcher when you hold the lead.”
Looking at the data, KT’s starting pitching staff’s average ERA from July to the 3rd is 2.73, the only one in the 2-point range among 10 league clubs. In 22 games played since July, starting pitchers achieved a quality start (3 earned runs or less in 6 innings) 16 times, and a quality start plus (3 earned runs or less in 7 or more innings) came out 10 times. Ranked first in the league in both indicators.
Young-Pyo Koh, a native ace who was nominated for MVP in July, and Wes Benjamin, a foreign pitcher, lead the mound. Ko Young-pyo threw 27.2 innings in 4 starts in July, leaving 2 wins (1 loss) and an ERA of 1.30. His innings and ERA were second in the month. Wes Benjamin, a foreign ace, won all starters in all four games he pitched in July. He performed evenly, ranking first in the most wins per month (4 wins), second in strikeouts (31), and third in earned run average (1.67).
Not only this. The rest of the starting pitchers, including William Cuevas, Bae Seong, and Eom Sang-baek, are also fighting hard. In particular, Eom Sang-baek, the 5th starter, pitched 6 or more innings in all 4 games from July to the SSG game, and allowed less than 2 runs. Eom Sang-baek took his 5th win (6 losses) against SSG on the 3rd. The confidence of the players has soared. Eom Sang-baek analyzed the secret of the recent good performance, saying, “With our starting pitchers throwing consistently, the team batting cycle rises and we seem to be hitting terribly.”