The LG Twins minimized bullpen usage thanks to a batting explosion and headed into the off-day with a little more breathing room. However, the 11-run victory left them with a challenge. Choi Won-tae, who came into the game in relief of a big lead, struggled.
LG, led by manager Yoon Kyung-yup, took a step closer to winning the Korean Series with a 15-4 victory over the KT Wiz in Game 4 of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Korean Series at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, South Korea, on Wednesday, improving to 3-1 in the series. With one more win in the remaining series, they will win their third Korean Series title in franchise history after the 1990 and 1994 titles.
LG took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning after a strong start from starter Kim Yun-sik and a leadoff double by Kim Hyun-soo, and then scored four consecutive runs in the top of the sixth. The game tilted further in LG’s favor. Seven runs in the seventh inning and three runs in the eighth inning were decisive, especially the eight consecutive hits in the seventh inning, which set a new record for the most consecutive hits in the Korean Series.
The explosion of the batting lineup solidified the victory, and LG was able to finish the game without saving the best pitchers, including Ko Woo-seok, and used backups and chasers after the seventh inning. The results weren’t bad either, as ‘rookie’ Kim Bum-seok, who came in as a pinch-hitter in the top of the eighth, got a hit.
The problem came in the bottom of the eighth. Lee Woo-chan, the fourth pitcher, struggled, giving up two runs on two hits and two walks with one strikeout in ⅓ of an inning. The fifth pitcher, Choi Dong-hwan, extinguished the flames in ⅔ of an inning, striking out one and walking none.
In addition to Lee Woo-chan and Choi Dong-hwan, there was another pitcher who took the mound for an inspection. It was Choi Won-tae. Choi Won-tae, who started Game 2, struggled, giving up four runs on two hits and two walks in ⅓ inning, and was relieved by Lee Jung-yong after throwing 20 pitches. At the time, Yeom Kyung-yeop said that he would consider whether to continue using Choi Won-tae as a starter in the future or choose another option.
Before Game 4, Yeom revealed his plan to start Choi Won-tae in Game 6, saying, “Our plan changed after winning the previous game (Game 3).” The bench decided to check if Choi Won-tae would be able to play in Game 6 as planned.
15-3, 12-point lead. The situation itself was less stressful than in Game 2, but Choi Won-tae found himself in a bases-loaded, 1-2 situation in the bottom of the ninth inning when he walked leadoff hitter Choi Soo-ho and then Song Min-seob. Shin Bong-ki’s grounder and Lee Ho-yeon’s sacrifice fly brought in a run. A grounder to third by pinch-hitter Kim Jun-tae prevented any more runs from scoring, but the bench didn’t provide the pitching they were hoping for. The final score was one run on two hits and two walks in one inning.
When Choi Won-tae donned the LG uniform in a trade from the Kiwoom Heroes at the end of July, he was expected to serve as a “winning pitcher. At the time, manager Yoon Kyung-yeop said, “It’s like a blockage has been broken,” and he was excited about the effect of signing Choi Won-tae. The team struggled without much success. Choi, who took over as the second starter in the Korean Series after foreign pitcher Adam Plutko’s season ended prematurely due to injury, has continued to struggle.
When asked about Choi Won-tae by the media after Game 4, manager Yoon Kyung-yeop said, “I let him pitch to check (his condition), but he hasn’t gotten his balance back yet, so I don’t feel comfortable using him as a starter in Game 6. I don’t think I should use him,” he said firmly.
He continued, “With the way things are going right now, I think I’ll have to think about who to start if we go to Game 6. We’ll have to think about it tomorrow (Dec. 12),” he added. It was a clear nail in the coffin that Choi Won-tae would not be given the starting job. 아톰카지노
In the end, there is only one best-case scenario to win the Korean Series for the first time in 29 years: a four-game sweep. Foreign pitcher Casey Kelida will start Game 5 on the 13th. LG envisions clinching the title with their ace, who has been a pillar of their starting rotation for years. If they drop Game 5, the math gets a little more complicated. It remains to be seen if LG can close out the series in Game 5.