Lee ‘zeroes in’, Yoon recovers ‘main weapon’…Young Gun Duo overcomes hurdle

KIA Tigers young starting pitchers Lee Yi-ri (21) and Yoon Young-chul (19) got over the hump well.

Lee Yi-ri, a third-year left-hander, was up to the task in his first start against the KT Wiz at Katie Wiz Park in Suwon on the 8th of this month, throwing five innings of three-hit, two-strikeout ball. It was his seventh win of the season (5-0) in KIA’s 7-0 victory.

He struggled with his pitch count at the end of the first inning, throwing 32 pitches, but settled down after that and was able to keep the opposition’s top three hitters – Hwang Jae-gyun, Bae Jeong-dae and Jang Sung-woo – at bay. The change in pitch mix from a four-seam fastball in the first inning to a changeup in the second inning worked. The most encouraging thing was that he only walked two batters. He didn’t walk a batter in three full-count games.

Lee had struggled with his pitches in his previous three outings, walking 16 batters in 12 and two-thirds innings. The high pitch count prevented him from going many innings, and he was pulled early in all three games. On 16 June against the Gwangju NC Dinos, he also gave up the most runs (7) of the season.

Eventually, KIA manager Kim Jong-kook removed Lee from the first team roster on 28 June to give him time to regroup. Lee showed the effect of the rest. Although it was a one-game rebound, it was significant as he cut down on his walks, which had been his biggest problem this season.

Rookie left-hander Yoon Young-chul, 19, also bounced back to add a win in five games. He pitched six innings of four-hit ball against the SSG Landers on the 5th. KIA won the game 17-3 and Yoon picked up his fourth win of the season.토토사이트

Yoon has been struggling lately, recording a career-high in hits (11) and runs (7) against the Gwangju NC last month on 17 June, and while he improved his pitching balance after a 10-day absence from the first team roster, he struggled in his return game against the Gwangju Kiwoom Heroes on 28 June, giving up four runs in five innings.

Against SSG on the 5th, his pitches stood out, especially his main weapon, the change-up, which was heavily criticised in the NC, where he gave up seven runs. He threw 13 pitches and didn’t allow a single hit. He threw fewer pitches than in his previous start against Kiwoom, but used them effectively to get strikes and induce hits. In the top of the sixth, he grounded out Guillermo Heredia, the league’s top hitter, and Kang Jin-seong, who has been hitting well of late, with a changeup.

The Korean pitching staff had found its groove after a brief lull, and the batting line-up was on fire, giving KIA a foothold in the mid-table. Lee Yi-ri and Yoon Young-chul are expected to add to the team’s momentum.

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