It was just one year ago. After taking the helm of LG, Yeom expressed both joy and reflection at being back in charge. He emphasized “simple and quick” as he reflected on past postseason failures. He vowed to never hesitate to make short-term pitching changes that could decide the fate of the team.
In the second game of the Korean Series (KS) on April 8, LG moved faster than ever before. Not only did they replace Choi Won-tae in the first inning, who had been touted as a key player, but the timing of every other substitution was a beat faster. They utilized their deepest bullpen 200%, and after giving up four runs in the first inning, they pitched eight scoreless innings from the second to the ninth.
It wasn’t just the pitching change that showed team colors. A first-pitch home run put the game out of reach and set the tone, and a second-pitch home run put the game out of reach. From the pitching change in the first inning to the game-winning home run, it was an upset with LG’s unique brand of baseball. We analyzed KS’s Game 2, which condensed the 144-game pennant race into one game.
42nd upset of the regular season and 43rd of the year.
A master of the upset. In the regular season, nearly half of LG’s wins came from behind. Season record: 86 wins, 56 losses, and 2 ties. Of those 86 wins, 42 came from behind.
These numbers don’t just happen. It’s a combination of bullpen and offense. The players’ attitude was also different. “We tried our best in every game this season,” said Yeom. “I always wanted to win, but the players’ hearts are also very strong. Even when we’re losing, we’re all saying, ‘We can do it,’ ‘We can get it,’ ‘We just need to score one point,’ ‘We just need to do one thing,’ and so on. At first I thought I was the only one motivated, but they seem to be more motivated than me,” he smiles.
The first pitcher to win in the regular season and the first pitcher to win in KS is Ham Deok-ju.
Same opponent as in the regular season opener. LG also faced KT in the opening two games. LG’s starting pitcher for the April 1 opener was Casey Kelly, the same pitcher who started Game 1 for KS. Like the KS game, the opening game resulted in a loss. After dropping their first game of the season with a 6-11 record, the next game on April 2 was an upset.
It was Ham Deok-ju who came from behind to get the first win of the regular season. On the mound in the 10th inning of extra innings, Ham Deok-ju pitched two perfect innings to start the comeback. In the top of the 11th inning, the LG bats took advantage of Park Young-hyun and Ko Young-pyo. Ham Deok-ju became the first LG pitcher to win a game in the regular season.
Game 2 was no different for KS. In the eighth inning, Ham Deok-ju pitched a perfect first inning. In the bottom of the eighth, Park Dong-won hit a game-winning two-run homer to win the game. Just like the second game of the regular season, Ham Deok-ju was the winner of Game 2 and Park Dong-won was the loser.
11 games with seven or more bullpen pitchers in the regular season, and a ready-to-go offense.
April 2, when LG and Hamdeokju earned their first wins of 2023. LG used a total of eight middle relief pitchers. In Game 2 against KS, LG used seven middle relievers, marking the 11th time LG has used seven or more pitchers from its bullpen in the regular season. The pitchers are no strangers to bullpen days, as they are prepared to use them at any time.
The postseason is an extension of the regular season. You can’t suddenly do something in the postseason that you didn’t do in the regular season. That’s why the KS Game 2 bullpen day was so successful. In the regular season, the bullpen door was opened every inning and the middle pitchers were mobilized like an attendance check. As a result, Lee Jung-yong, Jung Woo-young, Kim Jin-sung, Baek Seung-hyun, Yoo Young-chan, Ham Duk-joo, and Ko Woo-seok combined for 8.2 scoreless innings in Game 2.
In Game 2 of the 2022 playoffs, a late substitution of starting pitcher Adam Plutko resulted in a loss for Thru. LG erased that pain with a sweep of KS in Game 2.
I’ve been emphasizing the first-pitch approach, and it’s yielded the best results.
Yeom encourages his hitters to attack the early pitches. He did so when he was a manager at Nexen and SK. He believes that hitters can increase their chances of getting a hit by targeting the first-pitch strikes that the opposing pitcher throws inertially. I often say that hitters can’t beat a pitcher without being aggressive, including attacking the first pitch. That’s why I tell them not to hesitate to swing at a 3-0 pitch.
In the regular season, LG was the best team at attacking pitches. Of their 1364 total hits, 217 came on first-pitch strikes. The team batting average was 0.279, and the team batting average was 0.367 when attacking the first pitch. Leadoff hitter Hong Chang-ki’s rebound is due in large part to his first-pitch approach. Hong, who has been known for his ability to pick the ball off the ground with precision, had a .400 batting average in the regular season with 22 hits on pitches in play. 토토사이트
Before Game 2 of the KS, Yeom emphasized the importance of the first pitch. Yeom applauded Hong’s first-pitch approach in his first at-bat in Game 1 and wanted him to maintain that stance in Game 2. Although the pitch was hit right in front of the center fielder, the quality of the hit was good.
“I told him to keep doing the same thing. “Today, if you get a good ball to hit, you should go for it. If you wait for the first pitch, it will be more complicated.” Hong Chang-ki didn’t get the results he wanted in the second game of KS. But the quality of her batting is good. The ball he hit in his last at-bat would have been a single to right field if not for Oh Yoon-seok’s hoseby.
Oh Ji-hwan and Park Dong-won capitalized on the first pitch. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Oh took advantage of a cut fastball from William Cuevas to hit his first KS home run. It narrowed the score to 2-4 and started the LG chase. In the eighth inning, when the entire Jamsil Stadium exploded like lava, Park Dong-won hit the final two-run shot. With runners on first and second, Park launched a cannonball over the left-center field fence on Park Young-hyun’s first-pitch changeup. Park, who had gotten on base with a single to left in his previous at-bat in the sixth inning, hit a fastball in all four of his at-bats on the day.
LG’s first win over KS in 21 years in a come-from-behind drama
LG’s last win over KS came exactly 21 years ago on November 8, 2002. It was also at Jamsil Stadium. LG defeated Samsung 8-7. The winning pitcher was Lee Dong-hyun and the saving pitcher was Jang Moon-seok.