꽁머니사이트 The Twins finished the first half in first place with a record of 49 wins, 2 ties and 30 losses (.620 winning percentage). First place in the first half in 26 years since 1997. They finished 2.5 games behind second-place SSG.
LG head coach Yeom Kyung-yeop did not attach much significance to the first half of the season, citing August and beyond as the deciding factor, but he was pleased with the win-loss margin.
“Our goal at the beginning of the season was to be +18 at the end of the first half. I think if it’s around +18, we did well in the first half,” he said. LG ended the first half with a +19 win-loss margin.
“The most important thing didn’t work out,” Yeom said of the starting rotation, noting that “the three to five starters didn’t work out (as planned), but in the middle of the game, Chanyeong-kyu was able to take over the third spot and create the conditions for the team to not go on a losing streak and not win a lot of games, but to take charge of the innings.”
Plutko has been outstanding with an 11-1 record and a 2.21 ERA, while Kelly hasn’t quite lived up to expectations with a 6-5 record and a 4.44 ERA, but is slowly finding his stride. Lim Chan-kyu was the third starter with a 6-2 record and a 3.19 ERA.
However, rookies Kim Yun-sik, Lee Min-ho, Kang Hyo-jong, and Lee Ji-gang, who had been preparing to be the starting pitchers since spring training, have been sluggish.
The second half is the biggest challenge. “It doesn’t matter how much the four or five starters do in the second half, even if it’s only four,” Yeom said. “In the first half, we operated in a way that didn’t overload the bullpen, but in the second half, if the four or five starters don’t settle down, it’s bound to be overloaded.”
The key players in the starting rotation are Lee Jung-yong and Kim Yun-sik. The team has high hopes for Lee, who made the transition from bullpen to starter. He believes that if he can use his curveball or forkball as a decisive pitch, he can succeed as a starter.
Kim Yun-sik is looking to build on his performance in the second half of last year. After being sent down to the rehabilitation program in early June, Kim had over a month to get back into shape and recently pitched in the Futures League. He made a start against SSG’s second team on June 12, throwing 30 pitches and allowing five runs on five hits in one inning.
LG plans to go with a starting rotation of Kelly-Plutko-Jung-yong Lee-Chan-gyu Lim in the second half.