Lim Ki-young is having a hard time, Choi Ji-min is leaving… KIA’s bullpen in crisis, its fate depends on the reunion of ‘Triple J’

 KIA lost 6-8 after a tight match against Doosan held at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field on the 15th. Thanks to Lee Woo-sung’s grand slam in the 4th inning, they were ahead by 1 point at 6-5 until the 5th inning, but they could not withstand the final juncture of the game.토토사이트

Although we had a day off due to rain the previous day (the 14th), we suffered more than just one loss in that we lost despite mobilizing all of our bullpens. On this day, KIA started to use the bullpen after two outs in the fourth inning as starting pitcher Yoon Young-cheol did not look very good. A total of seven bullpen pitchers were used, starting with Kim Jae-yeol, Kim Dae-yu, Lim Ki-young, Choi Ji-min, Jeon Sang-hyun, Jeong Hae-young, and Jang Hyun-sik. In particular, they lost despite using Lim Ki-young (30), who can be said to be the most reliable man in the team’s bullpen, for two innings.

Until he was eliminated from the starting rotation this year, not many people thought Lim Ki-young would cause such a turnaround in the bullpen. Even when he first started, he was closer to a long relief pitch than a sure-fire pitcher. However, his role gradually expanded, and now he goes on the mound when the team needs it, regardless of the score difference, timing of the game, or whether the team is leading. There were many cases where Lim Ki-young was called when he was winning a game or when he was slightly behind but felt, “We need to win today.”

In the process, Im Ki-young threw the ball faithfully without any major deflection. Lim Ki-young also confidently says, “You can throw a lot.” As of the 15th, in 55 games of the season, he had 4 wins, 3 losses, 3 saves, 15 holds, and an average ERA of 2.62. This year’s KIA bullpen is the biggest contributor. However, fans looking at Lim Ki-young are anxious. This is because despite Im Ki-young’s boast that “you don’t have to worry too much,” the pace of the innings is too extreme.

Im Ki-young has already pitched 75⅔ innings ‘only in the bullpen’. There were many multi-inning games. Of course, he is not a pitcher who throws with power, but the number of pitches per inning (1,120) is surprisingly efficient. Still, it is true that he threw a lot. Additionally, KIA still has 27 more games remaining. The player who has played the most innings in the KIA bullpen since 2014 is Kim Yun-dong (82⅔ innings) in 2018, and he is on pace to surpass this.

The more you throw, the more tired you become, not the stronger you become. Even without considering the risk of injury, there is a possibility that the pitch will decline. There is another burden on the KIA bullpen. Left-hander Choi Ji-min (20), who supported the team’s bullpen with his best performance in the first half of the year, is going to the Hangzhou Asian Games. If you are convened on September 22nd, you will not be able to see us for almost 20 days. Choi Ji-min was the core of the KIA bullpen, recording an ERA of 2.24 in 55 games this season.

Of the two players who have been leading the KIA bullpen all season, one has been out for quite some time, and one has accumulated enough innings that it would not be surprising if his pitching status declines in the future. However, KIA does not have a strong selection. Mario Sanchez is out with an elbow injury. Lee Ui-ri holds Choi Ji-min’s hand and goes to Hangzhou. The innings of replacement starting pitchers must be judged conservatively. Ultimately, the conclusion is that bullpen consumption will continue to increase. KIA needs to find an alternative quickly.

In fact, there was originally Pil Seung-jo, not Lim Ki-young and Choi Ji-min. The closer is Jeong Hae-young, and the setup men Jeon Sang-hyun and Jang Hyun-sik. The name ‘Triple J’ was given based on the last names of the three players. With Jeon Sang-hyeon and Jang Hyun-sik taking charge of the 7th and 8th innings, Jung Hae-young finishing the 9th was KIA’s winning formula for quite some time. In the two years since 2021, Jang Hyun-sik has harvested 53 holds and Jeon Sang-hyun has harvested 23 holds. In closing, Haeyoung Jeong made 66 saves.

This year, the trio was unable to work together throughout the season. Jang Hyun-sik, who had bone fragment surgery on his elbow after the end of last season, was late in joining the team. He had a hard time finding his way back for a while. He has recently found a fastball reaching 150 km/h, but his command has not returned. The hitting percentage in the last 10 games is also 0.345. This is a number that is difficult to give definite confidence in.

Jeon Sang-hyun and Jeong Hae-young both had experience going to the second team in the middle of the season to adjust their performance. It didn’t just last 10 days, it lasted quite a while. He is showing little improvement after returning to the first team. Jeon Sang-hyun is active as a stable setup man, and Jeong Hae-young did not concede a single goal from the game against Kiwoom on August 17th to the game against LG on September 10th.

However, in the game on the 15th, the overall synergy effect of the three players is not occurring, as Jeong Hae-young was unable to control the back door. In the 7th to 9th innings, it is rare in KIA these days for one player to take charge of each inning and hit the ball cleanly. The situation is such that players are appearing more frequently and the physical burden on certain players is increasing. Only when Triple J can regroup in a stable manner can KIA endure the difficult final schedule.