‘Miraculous rebound’ from -14 to +4 with starting baseball…”We can win even if we don’t hit well, our players are amazing”
A -14 win-loss margin became +4 in just two months. This is because the starting pitching, the backbone of KT’s baseball program, has been revitalized.
KT manager Lee Kang-cheol met with the media on Thursday ahead of the team’s 10th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against Doosan at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul and gave a thumbs-up to his starting pitchers’ relay performances.
From the bottom of the standings in early June with a -14 win-loss margin, KT has made a miraculous comeback to climb to fourth place, one point behind third-place Doosan. With 47 wins, two draws, and 43 losses on the season, they are now in a position to break out of the five-game win column and challenge for a top-three finish.
The biggest factor in their rise is their starting pitching. Since replacing Bo Scherzer with winning ace William Cuevas, the starting rotation has been reeking of the championship they won two years ago. The up-and-down Wes Benjamin, Bae Jeong-seong, and Uhm Sang-baek have stabilized at the same time, and ace Ko Young-pyo is showing off his so-called “crazy stability” with nine consecutive quality starts. KT’s late-inning ERA is unsurprisingly the best in the league (2.22). It is the only ERA in the double digits.스포츠토토
“The starting pitchers are all pitching well, so there’s more focus among them. Of course, there is pressure when it’s your turn, but it creates more focus,” he said. “At the beginning of the season, we were worried because of the external risks and the injury to Choi Min-joon, but as the season went on, the starters eventually found their place. Now, the power of our starters is what other teams expected at the beginning. Led by Ko Young-pyo, everyone is following along and competing well,” he smiled with satisfaction.
KT also swept the three-game SSG series in midweek with its starting pitching. Especially on the second and third days, the bats only scored one and three runs, respectively, but the pitching staff kept the runs in check. “This is the power of the starting lineup,” Lee said, “We can win even if we don’t hit well. The veterans will take care of it. This is the way a good team goes. We’ve been playing a lot of luck lately. Even games that look like they’re going to go over don’t go over.”
Lee said, “Our players are amazing. They tried their best in every game. The front line made good moves at the right time. The team is doing so well,” he said, giving credit for the miraculous rebound to the players and the front line.
Meanwhile, KT’s starting lineup against Doosan starter Kim Dong-joo is Kim Min-hyuk (right fielder), Kim Sang-soo (shortstop), Anthony Alford (left fielder), Park Byung-ho (first baseman), Hwang Jae-gyun (third baseman), Lee Ho-yeon (second baseman), Moon Sang-chul (designated hitter), Kim Jun-tae (catcher), and Bae Jeong-dae (center fielder). The starting pitcher is exclusionary.