“One trade, and the blood is out” LG wins the championship… ERA 9.00, but eventually declares ‘extra innings’

“One trade and I’m out.”

It was just a month ago. LG Twins manager Yoon Kyung-yeop bolstered his starting rotation by acquiring pitcher Choi Won-tae (26) in a trade with the Kiwoom Heroes on March 29. The Twins had been hemorrhaging prospects Lee Ju-hyung (22) and Kim Dong-gyu (19), as well as a first-round pick in the 2024 rookie draft, but they couldn’t pass up a golden opportunity to get back to the top for the first time since their last championship in 1994. Choi Won-tae was LG’s game-changer.

At the time of the trade, Yeom said, “I’m bleeding. I’ve been having sleepless nights lately. I was wondering how to solve the starting lineup, but you did it in one shot,” he said, smiling broadly.

“The pressure (to win) was there from the beginning of the season. They helped me up front to do a little bit better. The goal was the same from the beginning to now, and I had the support. The pressure has been there since the beginning of the season. The team, myself, and the players have set goals. I think it’s a good trade for the players. I think it’s a trade where the players can see what kind of power we can have with (Choi) coming here. They must have thought, “Do we have to keep holding on?” There must be a limit. I think it was a trade that changed the players’ mindset positively,” he added, declaring that it was time for the team to look at the top and sprint together.

Choi Won-tae is a player that Yeom has watched closely since his time with the Heroes, so he was confident in his selection. “Won-tae and I know each other well. I think Wontae will win more games in the second half than the first. They have a lot of conditions to win, such as our batting lineup and winning group. Catcher Park Dong-won has been with us for a long time, so it helps him adapt.”

He added, “Won-tae was born in 1997. I think he will be the centerpiece of the Korean starting lineup for the next seven to eight years. I think he will be a pitcher who will be a great strength for our team not only this year but also in the future.”

Choi Won-tae had an impressive performance in his LG debut shortly after the trade. On March 30, he started against the Doosan Bears in Jamsil and pitched six shutout innings to earn the win. It was the kind of performance that makes you feel like LG’s winning formula is working perfectly.

After this game, however, he was unable to get any more quality starts. In his four August starts, he went 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 21 innings pitched. He rebounded with four runs in seven innings against the SSG Landers in Incheon on the 18th, but pitched his worst game of the month on the 25th against the NC Dinos in Changwon, allowing 11 runs (nine earned) in four innings.

Luckily for LG, the back-to-back games against the Jamsil Doosan on the 29th and 30th were canceled due to rain, giving them time to adjust their rotation. On the 31st, they finalized their starting rotation for the week in the order of Casey Kelly, Chan-gyu Lim, Jung-yong Lee, and Yoon-sik Kim. Choi Won-tae was naturally pushed back to next week. It’s a result of Yeom’s desire to give him a chance to forget about his August slump, get enough rest, and start fresh in September.메이저사이트

“Won-tae will pitch on Tuesday (September 5). I think it’s better to give him a break, so I’m going to give him as much rest as possible.”

LG is not in a position to relax at the moment. As of the 31st, they are 65-41-2 and 4.5 games ahead of second-place KT Wiz, but if their starting lineup falls apart, it’s hard to see them staying in first place. LG already suffered a major internal injury when ace Adam Plutko, responsible for 11 wins this year, was diagnosed with a pelvic contusion that will require four to five weeks to return. If Choi Won-tae goes down, the team will have to rely on five young pitchers to get them through the rest of the season, which is hard to do when you’re trying to win a championship.

Won-tae Choi will need to be well-rested and able to come back and pitch the way he did shortly after joining the team to prove his worth as a championship pitcher and, hopefully, develop into the domestic ace the club hopes he can be for the next seven to eight years.