“Three digits for experience, 27 to play”…Yalgalang aims for both ‘present’ and ‘future’

스포츠토토The LG Twins, who won the regular season title for the first time in 29 years in 1994, are preparing for the Korean Series (KS) even though the regular season is not over. Of course, the ‘now’ is important, but for now, manager Yoon Kyung-yeop plans to prepare for the Korean Series by looking to the ‘future’.

LG won the championship for the first time in 29 years on the ‘bus’ leaving for an away game against the Lotte Giants at Sajik Stadium in Busan on the 3rd. At the time, LG was one win away from the title, which was finally finalized when KT Wiz and NC Dinos, two teams that could have threatened LG, both lost. While the regular season schedule has yet to be finalized, LG’s eyes now turn to the Korean Series.

Manager Yoon Kyung-yeop began preparing for the Korean Series immediately after the title was clinched, resting Park Dong-won, who had been suffering from a bad wrist, as well as “Jamsil Jesus” Casey Kelly and Choi Won-tae from the first-team roster, and is now testing a batting lineup that can hit for big innings with a “hard-hitting” approach rather than the table-setter of No. 1 Hong Chang-gi-2 Park Hae-min that he used throughout the regular season.

On the afternoon of October 6, 2023, the game between the KIA Tigers and KT Wiz in the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ was held at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. LG head coach Yeom Kyung-yup performs the regular season championship ceremony after the game.

On the afternoon of October 6, 2023, the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ game between the KIA Tigers and KT Wiz was held at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. LG’s Kim Bum-seok hits a grounder to shortstop with two outs in the sixth inning.

There’s still a long way to go before the Korean Series, but Yeom already has a plan in his head. For now, he plans to fill 27 spots on the 30-man roster with “mainstays” and use the remaining three spots as slots for younger players to gain experience. Winning now is important, but the team is also planning for the future.

On the pitching side, Yeom plans to use 14 spots, including Ham Deok-ju, who will return from injury. Before the game against the Jamsil Doosan Bears on the 14th, he said, “Thirteen are confirmed. If you include Choi Dong-hwan, it’s exactly 13. Choi Dong-hwan has been struggling for a year, so I’m going to put him in the roster.” “For the one remaining spot, I’m going to take Lee Ji-gang or Son Joo-young, or give a young player a chance. It’s an experience spot.”

Of course, the roster could change slightly depending on the situation. If the team needs more spots in the outfield, they could go with 13 pitchers instead of 14. However, Yeom plans to reserve one pitcher and up to two spots on the outfield for prospects. “If we look at the outfield and realize that we don’t have enough, we can eliminate this spot. But in any case, two spots are for experience. It’s not a position that is necessary for the game.”

“Even if (Kim) Bum-seok is in the lineup, will he come in as a pinch-hitter when it matters, what will he do. He’s a player we need to develop for next year, so there’s a huge difference between experiencing the big stage and not experiencing the big stage in preparation for next season. If you can afford it, even one at-bat is a huge experience for a young player. That’s why the three spots, two outfielders and one pitcher, are for experience, which means we will play with 27 players.”

In other words, Yeom has already decided on 13 pitching spots, including Choi Dong-won. Barring any special circumstances, all of the players he has in mind will make the team, and he’s weighing the options of Lee Ji-gang and Son Ju-young for the one remaining spot. On the batting side, I’m struggling with “first-round prospect” Kim Bum-seok and “Jamsil big boy” Lee Jae-won. In fact, it can be said that the plan is more or less complete.

Lotte-LG during the ‘2023 KBO’ game at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on June 1, 2023. Ham Deok-joo/

On the afternoon of October 6, 2023, a game between the KIA Tigers and KT Wiz in the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ was held at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. LG catcher Park Dong-won fields a bunt by KIA’s Park Jung-woo with no outs in the top of the eighth inning.

Ham Deok-joo and Park Dong-won are also recovering well. Ham Deok-joo has recovered to the point where he can play, while Park Dong-won has been given special treatment. Coach Yeom Kyung-yup said, “Ham Deok-ju has been pitching in the bullpen every two to three days to check his physical condition. “Park Dong-won’s hand is immobilized and he can’t move it at all. The safe way to rest it is to not use it at all. I think it will be much more helpful to do that for about two weeks.”

Now, there’s only one thing left to worry about. The starting rotation. Adam Plutko, who performed well throughout the regular season before being sidelined with an injury, is no longer a part of Yeom’s plans. For now, Yeom will go with Kelly as the No. 1 starter. Im Chan-kyu and Choi Won-tae will then start Game 3. The question is, who will start the second game first?

“The three starters are fixed. Kelly, (Im) Chan-kyu, and (Choi) Won-tae. The question is whether to go with Wontae or Chanyu for the second game. It depends on the team. It’s the same for the four. I think the first thing that needs to be set in the postseason is the starting lineup. Last year’s failure was because the starting lineup broke down. We are paying a lot of attention to the starting lineup. I think Kelly and Wontae are the key,” he emphasized.

“It depends on how Kelly and Won-tae do, and it depends on which team comes up, but I’m expecting a six- or seven-game series,” he added. The Korean Series begins on Nov. 7 and will be the first time LG has lifted the Korean Series trophy in 29 years following the regular season.

On the afternoon of October 4, 2023, the LG Twins and Lotte Giants played in the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan. LG’s Kelly celebrates after winning the regular season title.

The ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ game between the LG Twins and the Lotte Giants was held at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan on October 4, 2023. After the game, LG’s Choi Won-tae celebrates during the regular season championship ceremony.

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