Left-hander Yoo Hee-kwan (37-Retired) and submarine pitcher Ko Young-pyo (32-KT Wiz), who earned the nickname “campfire bowler” to contrast with fireballer. Though their styles are different, Im Chan-kyu (31-LG Twins) found them enlightening. That’s why he’s having a career-high season in his 11th season in the KBO.
Lim has been the reason LG has been able to finish the first half of the season in sole possession of first place. After failing to secure a solid starting spot before the season, he has earned it back and is now 6-2 with a 3.19 ERA in 17 games, making him the de facto No. 2 starter behind Adam Plutko (11-1, 2.21 ERA).
LG manager Yoon Kyung-yeop earlier expressed his satisfaction with the first half of the season, but said he was disappointed that his most important starting pitching staff didn’t work out. However, he also gave a thumbs-up to Chan-gyu, saying, “We didn’t lose back-to-back games and we could have won the title.” 메이저도메인
According to baseball statistics site Statiz, Lim’s average fastball velocity this season was only 141.6 kilometers per hour. While the numbers don’t seem competitive, Lim has made the biggest impact since his debut this season.
Coach Yoon had a big stake in that. “The coach never talked about speed,” Im said after the team’s training session at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Sunday. He said he doesn’t look at the scoreboard,” he said, adding, “What’s the point of throwing 138 kilometers or 148 kilometers if you’re not going to throw consistently.”
Im Chan-kyu continued, “(Yoo) Hee-kwan compared him to his brother and said, ‘If you can throw a ball in the early 130s and late 120s to a left-handed hitter’s body, but you can’t throw a ball in the 138s and 141s, it’s because you’re not confident,'” he said, adding, “I think I felt a little bit after that. (Park) Dong-won likes the body ball, so it worked well, and as I threw the body ball, my curve and changeup became more alive.”
Yoo Hee-kwan was a slow-ball pitcher in the KBO, but he won double-digit games in eight consecutive seasons and retired with 101 career wins. Fastballs are great, but Yoo’s career proved what’s more important for a pitcher. That’s what Yoon tried to remind Im of.
Thanks to this, he also realized how to relax. Im, who had previously used a wind-up motion to throw harder and harder and was getting tired as the innings went on, started throwing from a set position at some point. “I don’t know why I did it,” he said, “but I think it had an effect on my physical strength because I was throwing with force. Now I don’t feel weak even when I go to the second half,” he confessed, adding, “Once, in the KIA game, I thought I would throw only 70%, but I still got 141 kilometers. It’s been different since then.”
In addition to Yoo Hee-kwan, there were other pitchers who watched and learned. Lim Chan-kyu said, “Watching (the late) Young-pyo throw cleanses my mind. For me, he’s the best pitcher.” “He throws so easily with just one changeup. What kind of mindset he throws with, his facial expressions, etc.