Lim Ki-young (30) is a representative player who symbolizes KIA’s ‘Team Spirit’ this season. Even in the midst of a tough schedule, he silently climbs the mound without showing any signs and is doing his best. Although the starting time is not 메이저놀이터 fixed due to his frequent appearances, Lim Ki-young emphasizes that he wants to know the dedication of his teammates, saying, “It’s not just me, everyone is struggling.”
Lim Ki-young threw 59 innings in 41 games of the season, showing 1 win, 1 loss, 2 saves, 11 holds, and an average ERA of 2.44. It is the report of the former family that the KIA coaching staff can trust and draw the most. Although there are voices of concern due to the digestion of many innings, Lim Ki-young shakes his head, saying, “It is rather a bad style to rest a lot.” Lim Ki-young explained the preparation process, “I’m trying to manage my stamina well. I tend to eat well and digest all the schedules given by trainers, such as weights and running, so that I don’t lose stamina.”
Contrary to concerns, Lim Ki-young wants more innings. Lim Ki-young said, “He had a goal from the beginning of the season to throw 100 innings in the middle.” The reason is that if he throws like that, he won’t be a plus to the team. And he said he believed in the strength of his comrades. Lim Ki-young said, “It seems that we trust each other and throw. Even if I come up and put a runner down, I have faith that the pitchers in the back will be so good and will block it. I think the results are good because we have such thoughts.”
Expectations were high that the quality of the KIA bullpen would improve even before the season. This is why some expected resources joined last year’s Pil Seung-jo. Lim Ki-young, who came to the bullpen from the start, was also one of the resources that were expected to help, and he actually played a big role and supported the KIA bullpen in a crisis situation.
However, it is true that there are difficult situations in recent years as many players have been on the mound frequently. Also, KIA has currently played the fewest matches among the 10 clubs. In other words, there are still many games left. Unless the bullpen pitchers manage their stamina properly, they will inevitably get sick at the end of the season. That is why the players who are attracting attention are left-hander Kim Ki-hoon and right-hander Jang Hyeon-sik.
In fact, the fact that KIA bullpen pitchers often appear is due to the KIA coaching staff’s judgment that there are not enough pitchers who can throw one inning or more regardless of left or right batters. As a result, the innings are split, many pitchers are put in, and naturally many pitchers get caught in a series and consume their stamina. Even if the number of pitches is small, the mounding itself and even relaxing from the bullpen are all included in fatigue.
In the process, the players who threw relatively less were Kim Ki-hoon and Jang Hyun-shik. Both players have the ability to pitch one inning regardless of the type of opponent. This is the reason why I had high expectations as Agent Pil Seung-jo this year. However, the halfway point of the season turned around in lower grades than expected. Kim Ki-hoon’s average ERA of 3.21 in 25 games of the season is not bad on the surface. However, his credibility waned as he allowed a whopping 32 walks in 28 innings. Jang Hyeon-shik also had an ERA of 4.34 and a WHIP of 1.72 in 33 games, and his performance was lower than when he was at his best.
As the two players, who were pretty big links in the bullpen, fell into sluggishness, naturally, other players had to digest more innings. The fact that Choi Ji-min among left-handers and Lim Ki-young among right-handers had a lot of innings in the first half cannot be seen as unrelated to this. If so, now the link must be broken by both players themselves. It is highly likely that he has a little more reserve of stamina as he has been relatively absent from the mound lately. Now, only when the two players come to the fore can the KIA bullpen breathe.
KIA coach Kim Jong-guk diagnoses Kim Ki-hoon’s problem as confidence. He diligently prepares a lot, but lacks confidence, so he thinks a lot on the mound and his grades drop. Coach Kim said, “I want you to pitch with a little more confidence on the mound. No one knows the result, so you have to do it with confidence that you can win.” I think the result would be much better if I showed a little more concise appearance on the mound.”
Regarding Jang Hyun-shik, he admitted that the surgery to remove bone fragments in his elbow before the season had an effect. Coach Kim diagnosed, “It’s a little different from preparing for the season after surgery and not preparing from camp as usual. I couldn’t digest the camp well and pitched less.” However, he hoped he would get better as long as there was no recurrence of the injury. He is an experienced player who even went to the finish line. He can be of great benefit if he finds only basic abilities.
Coach Kim predicted more use of the two players in difficult bullpen conditions, and in fact, there was such an appearance in last weekend’s three-game series against Hanwha. Fortunately, the results weren’t too bad. Especially Kim Ki-hoon was like that. In the game on the 4th, he recorded 1 scoreless inning, and in the game on the 6th, when both bullpens poured out due to an overtime match, he recorded no runs in 2 innings, no hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, and energized the tired KIA bullpen.
Jang Hyeon-sik also went out in an important situation in the game on the 5th and held 1⅓ innings scoreless and played a decisive role in the team’s victory. It was the first hold since the match against Samsung on July 12, that is, since the second half. The key to whether the KIA bullpen can maintain its current level of strength lies with Kim Ki-hoon and Jang Hyun-shik.