Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

바카라LG wins series with multi-hit performance, including 8th inning induced error against Lotte on Aug. 25

LG Twins swept a three-game weekend series against Lotte in Anbang.

The LG Twins, led by manager Yoon Kyung-yeop, pounded out nine hits on Friday to pull off a 7-3 come-from-behind victory over the Lotte Giants in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. After falling 1-2 to Lotte in the first game of the three-game series on April 24, LG swept the remaining two games to close to within 0.5 games of first-place SSG Landers, who lost 2-5 to the last-place Samsung Lions on the same day (43-2-26).

LG held Lotte to three runs in a “swarming operation” that saw a whopping eight pitchers take the mound, with starter Lee Jung-yong going two innings, and seventh pitcher Kim Jin-sung earning his second win of the season in the eighth. At the plate, Kim Hyun-soo led the way with three hits and two RBIs, while Moon Sung-ju went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and the game-winning run came off the bat of the latter. Shin Min-jae has emerged as LG’s new starting second baseman this season, surpassing Seo Gun-chang and Kim Min-sung.

LG’s longtime second baseman problem

After the transfer of Park Kyung-soo (KT Wiz) and the three years of Son Joo-in (Samsung’s defense coach) as the starting second baseman, LG was once again without a second baseman after the 2017 season ended and Son Joo-in left the team through the second round draft. In 2018, it was Jeong Joo-hyun, a “late bloomer” in his 10th year of professional baseball, who took over the second base position. Jeong seemed to have taken over LG’s second base position, starting 95 games in 2018 and 124 games in 2019.

However, LG, who were looking to win the Korean Series, were not satisfied with his performance, as he batted .231 in 2019 after batting .261 in 2018, and brought in “demon second baseman” Jung Geun-woo, who was released by the Hanwha Eagles ahead of the 2020 season. As the only second baseman to reach 1,800 hits, 1,000 runs, and 350 stolen bases in his career, Jung is arguably the best second baseman in KBO history, but by the time he joined LG, he was already well past his prime, and his offense wasn’t performing to his satisfaction.

Eventually, LG realized that there is no such thing as “no bleeding income” and made a trade in 2021 to bolster their second base. They traded Jeong Chan-heon, who had been a starter until the trade and had a respectable 6-2 record with a 4.03 ERA, to acquire Seo Gun-chang, the only player in KBO history with 200 hits, from the Kiwoom Heroes. Considering that Seo was about to hit free agency at the time, it shows how serious LG was about bolstering its second base.

However, the 2012 Rookie of the Year, 2014 regular season MVP, and three-time Golden Glove winner at second base didn’t solve LG’s second base woes. In 2021, Seo failed to live up to expectations, batting .247 with two home runs, 24 RBIs, and 33 runs scored in 68 games for LG. Seo opted for free agency after the 2021 season, hoping to redeem himself, but he failed to rebound last season as well, batting .224 with 49 hits, two home runs, 18 RBIs and 39 runs scored in 77 games.

Adding a foreign player at second base wasn’t the answer either. Rio Ruiz, a utility player who split time between second and third base, was sent down after 27 games last year after batting an embarrassing .155 with one home run, six RBIs and 10 runs scored. Luiz’s replacement, foreign-born Lobel Garcia, had a strong August, hitting four home runs and 16 RBIs, but he slumped dramatically in September and was eventually released before the postseason.

From pinch-hitter to starter

A graduate of Incheon High School, Shin Min-jae began his professional career as a developmental player with the Doosan Bears after being undrafted out of high school due to his raw skills and small 5-foot-11 frame. He was drafted by LG in 2016 as a social service worker before making his first team debut, and was selected in the third round of the second round of the 2017 KBO Draft in November. At the time, LG was relatively short on speedy infield prospects.

After completing his military service in September 2018, Shin made his first-team debut in the opening game of 2019 and appeared in 81 games that year. However, his role was strictly limited to pinch-hitting. In fact, in the four years between 2019 and last year, Shin appeared in 195 games, but only 156 times did he get a chance to bat. With so little to look forward to at the plate, the key to Shin’s continued survival in LG was his quick feet, as he scored 61 runs and stole 22 bases in four years.

Shin Min-jae started the year as the fourth second baseman and pinch-hitter behind Seo Geon-chang, Kim Min-sung, and Jung Ju-hyun. However, as LG’s second basemen failed to live up to expectations, the opportunity finally came for the “big man” who had stolen 11 bases through May. In fact, after starting only five of 37 games through May, Shin Min-jae started 13 of the 19 games he played in June as the starting second baseman.

Although he cooled off a bit in June with a .227 monthly average, Shin has exceeded expectations this season, hitting .290 with two home runs, 18 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases in 56 games. Against Lotte on May 25, Shin had a multi-hit game with a single in the fifth and a walk in the seventh, then hit a grounder that forced Lotte shortstop Park Seung-wook into an error with runners on first and second in the eighth. LG scored the game-winning run when Shin Min-jae walked, and Shin scored on the ensuing opportunity when Moon Sung-joo singled.

Shin Min-jae has played 251 games in the first team to date, but has yet to register his first professional home run. At 5-foot-11 and 171 pounds, Shin is a small man who sticks to a strictly short swing, so it’s unlikely we’ll see many home runs from him in the future. However, despite not being a full-time starter, Shin is tied for the team lead in stolen bases (16) with Kim Hye-sung (Kiwoom) and will continue to utilize his quick feet to help LG win games.

“I really worked hard by myself, like a madman.”

Doosan Bears right-hander Lee Young-ha, 26, was facing trial on charges related to a bullying incident at Seolin Internet High School last October. The charges included special assault, coercion, and racketeering, and he spent the next nine months, from September to last month, hanging up his jersey and fighting to prove his innocence in court. Lee was acquitted in the first trial and was able to resume his career.

Although her jersey was taken away from her, she never hung up the ball. As an unsigned holdout during the trial, Lee was unable to officially train with the squad, but he was able to rent the club’s training facility for personal training. To make sure he didn’t waste this time, Lee pushed himself harder than usual in the weight room.

“There was nothing else I could do at the time except weight training, so I worked hard on my weight training,” he says, looking back on the period.

Pitching coach Kwon Myung-cheol watched her sweat it out during the trial. “She acted as if she had realized, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’ from the final training session last year,” Kwon said. At that time, (Lee) practiced a lot by himself even though he couldn’t train with us. He was working like a madman. He worked so hard that I said, ‘What’s wrong with you? She was very well prepared.”

Kwon has been Lee’s mentor since he joined Doosan as a first-round pick in 2016. From his rookie year to now, he has a better understanding of who Lee is as a player and how he has changed and grown. In Kwon’s eyes, Lee was a completely different person before and after the trial. “It’s a world of difference,” Kwon said.

He was prepared and ready to join the first team when the team needed him. Initially, Doosan registered Lee as an official player on the first day of the season and planned to have him pitch four games in the Futures League before calling him up to the first team. However, the team needed an immediate pitcher after setup man Chung Chul-won, 24, was suspended for his role in the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) drinking scandal. Lee was called up to the first team after pitching just one game in the Futures League.

He was well-rested and had good early velocity and command of his pitches, with his fastball topping out at nearly 150 kilometers per hour, and he was confident in his stamina. In the five games he pitched until the 11th, he went 3-0 with 3 holds, 6⅓ innings pitched, and a 1.42 ERA, seemingly erasing the nine months he spent on trial.

However, his last six appearances, starting with the Changwon NC Dinos on April 14, have been less than stellar. With two losses, one hold, 2⅔ innings pitched, and a 27.00 ERA, he was a completely different pitcher. Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop continued to use Young-ha in the bullpen even as he faltered, but as soon as he got into a close game, his pitches wouldn’t listen.

Lee’s season ERA soared to 9.00. Lee and Kwon ultimately decided to make a change, as a pitcher with a 9.00 ERA cannot continue to be used as a starter. For the time being, they’re moving Lee to long relief to give him time to regain his balance, and they’re bringing in left-hander Choi Seung-yong (22) to fill Lee’s spot.

Lee said, “He says he doesn’t feel pressure, but I think he might be a little nervous in tight situations. His delivery is fine, so he will continue to pitch in the first team. I talked to my pitching coach about whether my delivery would improve if I threw in a more relaxed situation. I’m going to make him throw longer pitches in a more relaxed situation rather than in a very tight situation.”

If Young-ha is able to regain his command of his pitches, Doosan will be able to build a strong pitching staff of Young-ha, Park Chi-guk, Jung Chul-won, and Hong Gun-hee.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *