The KIA Tigers prepare their battle lines with the returning soldiers and go out in the second half.
KIA finished the first half with 36 wins, 1 draw and 39 losses in 76 matches, 6th in the league. Starting with outfielder Na Seong-beom, who suffered a calf injury before the opening game, and Kim Do-young, who suffered a metatarsal fracture in the opening two games, the KIA continued to have a difficult season, but showed strength to enter the All-Star break in 6th place.
Even in the midst of fierce competition for the mid-tier rankings, with 4th place NC and 9th place Kiwoom only 4.5 games apart, KIA won 7 consecutive wins in the first half (against SSG on July 5th – against Samsung on July 12th) and won 7 in 9 games in July. recorded 2 losses. During that period, the team’s ERA rose to 2.14 (second place) and the team’s batting average rose to 0.287 (second place).
On the 13th, the last day of the first half, KIA coach Kim Jong-guk was asked to pick the best player for the first half, saying, “On the batting side, it was (Choi) Hyung-woo. “He had a lot of innings and he did the dirty work in the bullpen and did a good job. Both players sacrificed for the team in the first half.”
Choi Hyung-woo played mainly as the designated hitter 4 times this year, supporting the team’s batting line. KIA, which was reeling from Na Seong-beom’s absence and Socrates’ ups and downs, was able to rank third in the first half of the first half in batting average (0.279) thanks to Choi Hyung-woo, who played regularly. Choi Hyeong-woo took part in 75 of the team’s 76 games (73 starts) in the first half of the year, despite his age, and chose sacrifice instead of management.
He was a cleaner in Lim Ki-young’s KIA bullpen. In KIA, the number of starting innings in the first half (382⅔ innings) could not throw enough innings for the starting pitchers to stay in ninth place, but the burden was entirely on the bullpen pitcher. Lim Ki-young was responsible for the most innings among them. Lim Ki-young threw 51 innings in 33 games this season, ranking first among all-time reliever pitchers in the league.
In this year’s spring camp, Lim Ki-young, who played the role of long relief after competing with newcomers Yoon Young-chul and Kim Ki-hoon, played in long relief as coach Kim said, but also made 2 saves and 7 holds and came out in important situations. KIA managed to overcome the difficult selection situation of replacing all two foreign pitchers thanks to Lim Ki-young throwing many innings.안전놀이터
Now, KIA is almost complete in the second half. On the 6th of this month, all foreign pitchers were changed in one day, and on the 5th, the day before, the catchers, who were considered the weakest, were strengthened through a trade. Na Seong-beom and Kim Do-young also returned on the 28th of last month. Jung Hae-young, who is the core of the bullpen, but his pitch was shaky in the first half, returned to the finish in the last game of the second half and collected a save in 46 days. KIA brushed off its weaknesses. That means there are no excuses anymore.
So the keyword for the second half is injury. Coach Kim’s wish is to launch an all-out war without further injury. Coach Kim said, “The key players in the second half are all players. I hope all of them do well. No injuries. Strong in body and mind. As long as they are healthy, they are all competent players, so I hope all of them endure without injury.”
Specifically, “starting pitchers need to throw innings stably. Like foreign pitchers, (Lee) Ui-ri and (Yang) Hyeon-jong, who lacked a little innings in the first half, the key is the ability to digest four innings,” said new foreign pitcher Thomas Parr. He ordered long inning eaters from Noni, Mario Sanchez, and domestic starters.