“Outside Pitcher” as a Last-Minute Variable “Not Even Safe for First Place
Baseball’s KIA is in a tight top-five race. Leader LG is no longer safe either. They lost a key foreign pitcher at the end of the season and are in a state of crisis. KT and SSG, on the other hand, have been bolstered by the addition of foreign pitchers. The end-of-season foreign pitching situation is a mixed bag for the top contenders.
KIA and LG both lost foreign pitchers around the same time. KIA’s Mario Sanchez left the team after pitching seven innings of one-run ball against Hanwha on May 25. On the 28th, KIA announced a ligament injury in Sanchez’s right elbow, requiring three weeks of rehabilitation. Considering he’ll be pitching out of the bullpen afterward, he won’t see the first team for at least a month. There’s no guarantee he’ll return during the season.
LG Adam Plutko was diagnosed with a pelvic contusion after leaving the game in the fourth inning of the NC game on April 26. He is expected to take four weeks to recover. It’s hard to say if he’ll return during the season. The team will have to endure September without its ace, who has the most wins (11) and the third-best ERA (2.41) in the league.
LG’s dominance is no longer as secure as it once was. After dropping all three games of the NC, second-place KT is closing in on them. The plan is to replace Plutko with left-hander Kim Yun-sik, but it’s unclear how effective he will be. Kim’s first-team appearance this season was on June 8, when he gave up seven runs in five innings against Kiwoom.
The situation is even more dire for KIA, which is battling on the margins of the postseason. Ace Yang Hyun-jong is pitching inconsistently and Lee Yi-ri is out of the rotation with a shoulder strain. Add in the fact that KIA has the most games left to play out of the 10 teams due to rainouts, and Sanchez’s absence will only get worse as time goes on.
LG-KIA’s late-season woes are even more devastating when you consider that KT has been on a tear since signing William Cuevas, and SSG has been a rock since Kirk McCarty’s return from injury.
KT’s record-breaking second-half run, with an 8 percent winning percentage, can be traced back to the arrival of Cuevas. Cuevas’ arrival as a substitute in June solidified the starting lineup and added a unique focus, creating a virtuous cycle. KT head coach Lee Kang-cheol also credited Cuevas with sparking several counterattacks.
SSG McCarty has also been on a roll since returning from injury in late July after a month-long absence. In six games since his return, he has allowed 10 earned runs in 36.1 innings pitched with a 2.48 ERA, anchoring a faltering team.먹튀검증
In the race for the fifth spot, NC and Doosan each hold one clear ace in Eric Peddy and Raul Alcantara. The other is a question mark. NC’s replacement, Tanner Tully, has given up 10 runs (eight earned) in three starts. While he’s been on pace for a quality start (QS-6 innings, 3 earned runs or less) every outing, he’s not the overwhelming force he was initially projected to be. A concern for Doosan is that Brandon Waddell has been up and down since the beginning of his KBO career. Waddell was knocked around for eight runs (seven earned) in four innings against the LG on March 30, and then got hammered again for seven runs in four innings against KT on March 17.