5-5 overall with a 3.79 ERA…and fewer innings pitched.
“Every game is a war” in a tight standings battle
Reporter Lee Sang-cheol = KIA Tigers’ homegrown ace Yang Hyun-jong, 35, blamed himself for his poor first half and vowed to rebound in the second half.
“Looking back at the first half, I think I scored less than 50 runs,” Yang said in an interview at Sajik Stadium in Busan on the 15th, “The performance speaks for itself. I pitched few innings and gave up a lot of runs. Overall, in the games I pitched, the team did not perform well.”
In 16 appearances in the first half of the season, Yang went 5-5 with a 3.79 ERA and 82 strikeouts. He had just six quality starts (six or more innings and three or fewer earned runs) and eight starts of five innings or less.
Last year, his first season back from his Major League Baseball (MLB) challenge, he went 8-4 with a 2.97 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 106 innings over 18 starts. His performance has definitely dropped from a year ago, especially since June, when he went 2-4 with a 5.72 ERA in eight games.
In the last game of the first half on July 13, Kia lost to the Samsung Lions 1-4 as Yang Hyun-jong was rocked for three runs (two earned) in five innings, snapping a six-game winning streak.
Yang said, “When I pitched, I wanted the team to win as much as possible, but the result was too bad. I gave up too many runs, which made it difficult for the team to win. It was a very reflective first half,” he said.
Still, the season isn’t over yet, and Yang still has a chance to make amends. With 68 games remaining, KIA is only one game behind the fifth-place Lotte Giants, so it’s still possible for the team to move up in the standings.
“Our team’s focus for the second half of the season is hitting,” Yang said. “If the batters can score a lot of runs, I think we’ll have to rely on me and the pitchers to hold on, and if that happens, the team will be stronger. The hitters are hitting so well that I have high hopes for them.”
KIA’s team ERA is 3.81, which ranks fourth among the 10 teams. However, their starting ERA is less competitive at 4.23. In such a situation, Kang Soo-soo made the decision to use two foreign pitchers, and it’s a good first step.
Mario Sanchez pitched 6⅓ innings of 5-hit ball (1 HR) with 10 strikeouts and 1 run against the KT Wiz on the 10th, and Thomas Panodi did his part with 4 innings of 4-hit ball, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts and 2 runs against Samsung Electronics on the 12th.
“In the second half, it will be even more intense than now. If the two foreign pitchers continue to do their job, it will be a big plus for the team. However, there are variables such as the weather getting hotter and hotter, so I think we need to watch the foreign pitchers a little more closely.”
The KBO returns to action for the second half of the season on Nov. 21 after a short break. KIA will play a three-game series in Gwangju against the third-place Doosan Bears, who are riding a nine-game winning streak. KIA needs to perform well in the three-game series to keep the good momentum going.토토사이트
Yang Hyun-jong said, “This is a very important three-game series for both KIA and Doosan. Both teams will give it their all, with 1-3 starters in the lineup. We have home field advantage, so if we can do well, it can lift the mood of the team.” “All the players are working hard for the team. If we stick together as a team, we can achieve good results.”
The mid-table battle is much tighter this season than in previous years, with seven games separating third and ninth place. It’s not hard to see the stress on the players, who are constantly having to battle it out.
“I feel like every game is a war,” said Yang Hyun-jong. “I think we have a lot of strength, so we’re trusting each other to play to our abilities,” said Yang Hyun-jong. “It’s more important for us to keep piling up wins than to worry about other teams.