Friday, 17th May 2024

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Even after winning two games in a row, I have a lot to worry about

Manager Yeom Kyung-yeop of the LG Twins in professional baseball is deeply troubled. “Baseball is not going as I thought.”

Yeom talked about his struggles ahead of Game 3 of the midweek series against the Lotte Giants of the “2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League” held at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Wednesday. After winning the first and second games, LG secured the winning series at this year’s first Elotrasico.

In order to sweep the three consecutive games, Yeom formed a lineup in order of Hong Chang-ki (nominated), Ahn Ik-hoon (right fielder), Kim Hyun-soo (left fielder), Austin Dean (first baseman), Moon Bo-kyung (third baseman), Oh Ji-hwan (striker), Park Dong-won (catcher), Park Hae-min (center fielder) and Shin Min-jae (second baseman). Casey Kelly will take the mound as the starting pitcher.

First of all, Yeom said, “I looked back on the previous game. LG almost missed the victory that they had secured on the 17th. It was because closing pitcher Yoo Young-chan shook and allowed the game to be tied at 5-5 in the top of the ninth inning after leading 5-3 until the eighth inning. Fortunately, Yoo didn’t lose any more points and was able to secure a new victory through Ahn’s sacrifice fly in the ensuing offense in the bottom of the ninth inning.

“If we had lost yesterday, we would have suffered huge damage,” Yeom said with a sigh of relief. The reason he thought so was because he was agonizing over bullpen pitcher lineup.

They say that the bullpen session has weakened the strength to withstand, which is thinner than last year’s. “Six players were missing from last year’s winning group,” Yeom said. “At least one Yoo Young-chan is playing properly, and if he lost yesterday’s game, even Yoo Young-chan could have lost confidence.”

“Yoo Young-chan had a big experience yesterday,” Yeom said. “He got two doubles in a row and mentally collapsed. My legs got twisted because I was nervous,” he recalled at the end of the last game. “If it was last year, I would have replaced him. Now, however, he is tasked with saving and has become a symbolic player for the team, so he let me finish the game,” Yeom said. “That way, I will be able to endure that position again.”

It is true that LG’s bullpen has less weight this year than last year. Ko Woo-suk left for the U.S. and Baek Seung-hyun was removed from the first team entry on the day due to shoulder problems. In addition, Lee Jung-yong, Kim Jin-sung, Ham Deok-ju and Jung Woo-young are unable to play.

“Players who were preparing for the spring camp as a bullpen are not getting as good as expected,” Yeom said. “We have played 24 games so far, but we haven’t settled down yet, so baseball is not going as we thought,” he added.

That is why he emphasizes the importance of starting pitchers more. “When the bullpen is weak, the starting pitchers have to endure it. However, starting pitchers are also somewhat shaken up, which is why it is difficult to manage the game in general,” Yeom said.

“I’m barely holding out. For the time being, starting pitchers have to play their roles,” Yeom said. “With the current bullpen, it is difficult to form pitchers in the remaining innings if they come off the mound after three or four innings.”

On this day, foreign ace Kelly will be in charge of LG’s starting mound. It is noteworthy whether Kelly will be able to wash away manager Yeom’s concerns for a while.

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