LG Twins manager Yeom Kyung-yeop has identified a trio of players as key to the team’s chances of winning the Korean Series: starting pitcher Choi Won-tae, catcher Park Dong-won, and key side-arm bullpen arm Jung Woo-young.
With four wins in seven games and a chance to conquer the Korean Series pinnacle for the first time in 29 years, it’s clear what Yeom wants from the trio.
Choi Won-tae’s steady pitching, Park Dong-won’s one-hit wonder in the bullpen, and Jeong Woo-young’s return to form that has been shaky all year.
“Considering that the first and second games of the Korean Series will be played at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, which is a little bit bigger, we decided to start Choi Won-tae in the second game,” Yoon said ahead of a practice game against the Sangsang at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on April 1.
According to the KBO’s new rules, which were revised in January 2020, Games 1 and 2 and Games 5 and 7 of the Korean Series will be played at the home of the first-place team in the regular season. Only Games 3 and 4 will be played at the home of the playoff winner.
With this format, Casey Kelly and Won-Tae Choi, who were named Game 1 starters, will start Games 1 and 2 and Games 5 and 6 in Jamsil.
Won-tae Choi has been solid in Jamsil this season, going 4-2 with a 3.18 ERA. His .265 batting average has dropped to .227 in Jamsil, making him even more effective there.
However, he struggled in the second half of the season, going 3-3 with a 6.75 ERA, so it will be important to see how well he translates his experience from last year’s Korean Series.
“If Park Dong-won can continue to hit at his May pace, the bottom of the batting order can be more destructive,” Yoon said.
Park, who hit 20 home runs in the regular season this year, contributed significantly to the team’s offense with nine in May alone.
The idea of having a long-hitting bat in the bottom of the order was a promise Yeom made all season. With the cannon making the difference between victory and defeat in the fall, Park Dong-won’s return to form will only add to the cohesiveness of LG’s minefield batting lineup.
Yeom is hoping for the resurgence of last year’s holdout, Jung Woo-young, saying, “If he comes back, it could make it easier to run a must-win pitching staff.”
Jung, a sidearm pitcher with a fast two-seam fastball that tops 150 kilometers per hour, struggled in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) earlier this year and ended the regular season with a 5-6 record, 11 holds and a 4.70 ERA.
His bid for 20 holds for the fourth straight year fell short, and most importantly, his batting average jumped to .297.
Despite the loss of holder Jung Woo-young and last year’s reliever Ko Woo-seok, LG finished first in the regular season with a new pitching staff of Baek Seung-hyun (2-3, 3 saves, 11 holds), Yoo Young-chan (6-3, 12 holds), Ham Deok-ju (4-4, 16 holds), and Kim Jin-sung (5-1, 4 saves, 21 holds).
If Jeong Woo-young, who has been LG’s set-up man for the past three years, regains his form and joins the closer’s group, LG’s waistline will be even thicker. 토토사이트