“It’s not the old Kim Gwang-hyun.”
SSG Landers coach Kim Won-hyung pointed out the recent sluggishness of left-handed ace Kim Gwang-hyun (34) before the match against Doosan Bears in Jamsil on the 26th. Kim Gwang-hyeon started against Doosan in Jamsil on the 25th and took the loss with 4 innings, 9 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout and 7 runs (6 earned runs). On the 19th, the previous game, against the Incheon LG Twins, he scored only 5 runs in 6⅔ innings and became a losing pitcher.스포츠토토
Director Kim said, “Isn’t it the old Kim Gwang-hyun? To put it simply, in the past, I overwhelmed with a fastball and slider with a powerful pitch. Now, I made a little change. It takes time to see how batters feel it. Different points of those years I am also filling up, but yesterday (25th) the balls were high, so I got hit.”
Kim Gwang-hyun tried to fight the batters by actively mixing the sliders (21), change-ups (18), and curveballs (6), but it was not easy. In particular, since the main weapon slider went flat, even Kim Gwang-hyun had no choice but to be beaten. He recorded a maximum speed of 149km and an average speed of 146km.
Kim Gwang-hyun, who had been barely holding on, gave up 5 points at the end of the 4th inning, trailing 0-2, and collapsed. He was hit with a double by lead hitter Rojas in the middle left and gave up a right-handed hit to Yang Eui-ji, putting the first and third bases in danger. Yang Seok-hwan hit a right-handed hit to the left, making the score 0-3, and the next hitter, Kang Seung-ho, hit a timely double in the left-middle to make the score 0-4. In the continued safe 2nd and 3rd base, Heo Gyeong-min gave 2 RBIs in the middle right and a double at the right time, making it 0-6.
Kim Gwang-hyun continued to fight hard on the mound. In the continued at-bat with 1 out and 2nd base, Jo Soo-haeng allowed second base runner Heo Kyung-min to steal third base, and Jo Soo-haeng lost center fielder’s sacrifice fly and the score was 0-7.
The SSG lineup was tied to Doosan starting pitcher Kwak Bin (8 scoreless innings), and Kim Gwang-hyun collapsed, so there was no way to turn the atmosphere around. SSG ended up losing 1-10.
Coach Kim still believes that Kim’s sluggish performance is temporary. The first three games in August were fine. In all three games, he pitched more than 6 innings and prevented less than 1 run, but only 1 win (2 losses) because he did not receive support for scoring. Even if it is not the Kim Gwang-hyun of the past, there is a belief that because it is Kim Gwang-hyun, he can quickly overcome the sluggishness and come back.
Coach Kim said, “I pitched well before the (sluggish) two games. Since I’m Kim Gwang-hyun, I’m looking at every game with the standard that I have to be perfect, so my expectations may fall, but (Kim) Gwang-hyun is also a person. I think the next game will be better.” he emphasized.
As of the 26th, SSG is in 3rd place with 57 wins, 47 losses and 1 draw. There is a 1.5 game gap with the second place kt Wiz (60 wins, 47 losses, 2 draws), and an 8 game gap with the leader LG Twins (65 wins, 39 losses, 2 draws). Although they are far from the lead, they need to focus on narrowing the gap with second place in order to gain an advantage in the postseason.
Manager Kim said, “Kim Gwang-hyun has to do it. Basically, those three players, including McCarty and Elias, have to hold the center well. We now have 39 games left. We need to raise the number of wins here. If those players stabilize, the batting will stagnate. Even if you do, you can come up,” he said, hoping that the starting team, including Kim Gwang-hyun, would give more strength for the rest of the season.