“You must be on stage.” You said you had a hard time because you didn’t have a chance for the first team…That’s why I’m strong in real life

LG Kim Young-joon’s first task in the first division in 431 days was the chasing group Long Relief. It was more important to protect his bullpen colleagues than to win. Kim Young-joon, who had only been waiting in the bullpen since joining the first division on the 11th, finally got a chance to play in the game against Lotte on the 16th. The score was 3-8 and the atmosphere was given away.메이저놀이터

After the match, Kim Young-joon said, “There was a huge gap in scores, so I warmed up thinking that I might throw then.” “After spending so long in the Futures team, I desperately needed an opportunity to throw in the first division. So I went up and threw as hard as I could without time to think about the difference in scores or the situation,” he said.

He didn’t miss the opportunity that he had so much trouble. Kim Hyung-joon gave up just one infield hit in the eighth inning and finished the game without losing a point. However, the tide began to change as LG narrowed the gap to 6-8 by drawing pitchers one by one from the Lotte Group in the bottom of the eighth inning. Kim allowed one walk in the top of the ninth inning. In the offense in the bottom of the ninth inning, the game was tied at 8-8 due to Moon Sung-joo’s timely hit, which was made after two outs.

Now, Kim Young-joon is in a position to take responsibility for LG’s victory. At first, it was to finish the eighth and ninth innings safely so that other bullpen pitchers could rest, but now it is an important task to keep the game tied. Kim Young-joon blocked the game scoreless until the 10th inning of extra time when he faced an 8-8 tie. When Choi Hang grounded out to the first base with two outs, he received a throw from Austin Dean, made the final out count, clenched his fist, and performed a ceremony small.

In the ensuing attack in the bottom of the 10th inning, LG made a come-from-behind victory with Shin Min-jae’s walk-off sacrifice fly. Kim Young-joon took the mound in the first division in 431 days and secured the first win in 431 days. “At first, coach Kim Kyung-tae told me to throw strongly at the catcher, not with confidence. He told me to block one more ball before the next inning, and at the end, he allowed me to go up with another consideration depending on the situation so that I could continue my balance as I liked the ball,” Kim said thanking his pitching coach.

In fact, Kim has been in the rotation of starting pitchers in the Futures League, but failed to get a chance in the first division. Lim Chan-kyu was not mentioned as an alternative starter even when Choi Won-tae was out of the game due to back pain and back injury. Some assessed that his fastball speed was not enough to play in the first division games yet. However, Kim’s first pitch fastball amounted to 147 kilometers in the game on Tuesday. “I think he is fit for the stage, maybe because he threw under pressure,” Kim said with a big smile.

Since joining the pro league as the first draft pick in 2018, Kim has recorded 2-1 loss with a 4.35 ERA in 14 games in the same year. However, he failed to play in the first division games in 2019, and was pushed back from the priority list when he returned after fulfilling his mandatory military service. The two games in 2022 were held as a test after the ranking battle was over. He allowed no runs in six ⅔ and two runs in three innings, but failed to advance further. Last year, he spent most of his time with the Futures team again.

So, Kim said the past year has been “deadly difficult.” “If we don’t make it to the first team, we have no vision. It was very painful, very difficult, and very boring, but I still think we overcame it well,” he confessed. “Honestly, I was always confident. But when I just joined the first team, I don’t think I was able to overcome pressure or tension well. If I had thrown as solidly as I did today (three scoreless innings on the 16th), I think I would have settled down a little faster.”

Kim Young-joon filled the painful and exhausting time with research. He worked with Choi Sang-duk again to redesign his pitching design. “I thought about pitch tunnels when it comes to utilizing pitches, or studied a lot about whether trajectory changes or speed gaps are necessary. That’s why I think my breaking ball worked well today,” Kim said.

LG is expected to have at least one spot in six games from this week’s 18th to 23rd, and two spots in total. Even if Lim Chan-kyu is able to return to the weekend series, Choi’s spot will still be vacant. Along with Lee Sang-young, who played as the starting pitcher on Tuesday and did well by allowing one run in three ⅔ innings, Kim Young-joon could be a new alternative. “It is our job to align ourselves with any position, no matter what the coach or the situation is. I want to stay in the first team for a long time, step by step,” Kim said.

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