LG manager Yeom Kyung-yeop was bold from the start. Until now, LG had tried hard not to mention the word “winning.” It seemed that he tried to avoid pressure by using abstract expressions such as “high place” and “goal.” Yeom Kyung-yeop was different. From the first day of the wrap-up training, he said, “We have to win,” adding, “We have to do something within two years.” He did not regard it as a process to prepare for his three-year term, but immediately went straight with the goal of winning the title.헤라카지노
Everyone knew LG’s goal in 2023. LG did not renew its contract with Ryu Ji-hyun, the former coach who recorded the most wins with 87 wins, two draws and 55 losses (winning rate of 0.613) in 2022. Although LG advanced to the postseason as the second runner-up in the regular season, it failed to advance to the threshold of the Korean Series because it was lagging behind the fourth-ranked Kiwoom Heroes in the playoffs. Allowing the upsets cooled the mood of renewal of contracts, which seemed to be windy.
LG suddenly decided on a new coach. It appointed Yeom Kyung-yeop, who had been away from the team for a while due to health problems, as the team’s coach. The decision was made so urgently that even within the team, there were conflicting explanations about the selection process. Against this backdrop, LG is facing the new season under pressure of either winning or failing.
“I didn’t agonize after receiving the coach’s offer,” Yeom Kyung-yeop said in November last year. “I have one goal (to win), just like the club. I must admit that I have achieved so far. It was too hard to admit the result. I had a hard time thinking, ‘This is all I can do.’ So I collapsed. My goal is to win the title, and so is my goal.” The result was LG’s overall win in the Korean Series after ranking No. 1 in the regular season for the first time in 29 years. Now, I can laugh off the nickname “winning contractor.” LG is even eyeing on winning the title for the second consecutive year.
Coach Yeom Kyung-yeop spent a busy year-end even after the Korean Series ends. He said he had to go on a family trip only in mid-December as his schedule was packed with award ceremonies and TV appearances. He expressed his confidence, saying that his plans for next year are all over. First of all, he aims to address his shortcomings and difficulties in this season and reduce concerns next year.
“There is no such thing as a No. 1 team.” Manager Yeom Kyung-yeop defined LG for 2023 as such. Literally, this year, LG was a unique team that broke the baseball legend, the No. 1 official title, and the championship formula. The rotation of starting pitchers was also considered a weakness in the Korean Series. The team also had ups and downs in finishing the series. The result, however, was an overwhelming No. 1 ranking in the regular season with a gap of 6.5 games and a landslide victory of four wins and one loss in the Korean Series. The strong and thick bullpen and diverse batting lineup were all contributed greatly.
“We started the season on shaky ground in the third to fifth starters this year. We also had difficulties in pennant race due to lack of a clear ace,” manager Yeom Kyung-yeop said. Closing issue was also a matter of concern until the last minute.
LG had to agonize over replacing foreign players as the starting pitcher Casey Kelly pitched less than expected until mid-season. He decided that he did not have a good alternative, so he postponed the replacement and left Kelly behind, which led to a big hit. Kelly posted an ERA of 1.72 in five games since September, and he also allowed three runs and two earned runs in 11 ⅔ innings in two games of the Korean Series. This led to the recovery of Adam Plutko, who was the first starting pitcher in the first half of the season but was excluded from the team’s roster early due to rehabilitation problems after injury.
The domestic starters also ended the season with unexpected players. Lee Min-ho, Kim Yoon-sik, and Kang Hyo-jong entered the season, and Choi Won-tae, Lim Chan-gyu, and Lee Jung-yong rotated the starting rotation in the second half. Choi Won-tae was recruited through trade, and Lim Chan-gyu and Lee Jung-yong had different positions in camp and the regular season.
Ko suffered shoulder injury at the World Baseball Classic and back muscle pain at the Hangzhou Asian Games. After returning to LG after the Asian Games, he failed to check actual matches during the regular season and immediately started preparations for the Korean Series. He lost in the first game and collapsed in the third game by allowing three runs, but garnered a relief win thanks to the batters’ help.
“We will be the only ones in the No. 1 pennant race team without an ace and a closer,” manager Yeom Kyung-yeop said with a smile. “I think Ko Woo-suk will finish next season stably, and I think Yoo Young-chan will be able to finish it stably even if he goes to the Major League.”
“Out of the three to five starters that I was nervous about this year, I will start with Lim Chan-kyu and Choi Won-tae as the third and fourth starters. I am thinking of Kim Yoon-sik and Son Ji-young as the fifth starters. I am going to select the six starters, but I will discuss with the pitcher’s part and decide whether to use a player who is in good condition for a month and give him rest or go to the 10-day rotation.”