Winner’s Circle? 7G ERA 8.27…’Shocking Slump’, When Can We Rebound?

LG Twins pitcher Won-Tae Choi’s slump has been prolonged. He’s struggling to pitch many innings, let alone be a winning pitcher.

LG lost 7-8 in the 14th game of the season against the KIA Tigers of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Gwangju-KIA Champions Field on Tuesday. The loss was their third straight, following a doubleheader sweep the day before. Their season record dropped to 70 wins, 2 draws and 47 losses (0.598), with a winning percentage below 6 percent.

The offense piled on the runs in the top of the third inning with four straight hits. They didn’t have a home run, but they did have three doubles, which could have turned the tide in the middle of the game, but they never took the lead and lost the game.

In the end, they gave up a lot of runs early in the game. Choi Won-tae, who started the game, gave up seven runs on eight hits and five walks with three strikeouts in 2⅔ innings. This is the first time since the start of the season that Choi Won-tae has been removed after less than three innings, and the second time since July 2 against the SSG Landers in Gocheok.

Each inning was a “series of ups and downs. From the end of the first inning to the end of the third inning, Choi stranded at least three runners per inning and threw a whopping 81 pitches. The team was forced to make a quick decision to replace Choi in order to end the losing streak.

LG made a trade with the Kiwoom Heroes at the end of July, just before the trade deadline, and kept Choi Won-tae in exchange for pitcher Kim Dong-kyu, outfielder Lee Ju-hyung, and a 2024 first-round draft pick. LG knew they had to bleed a bit, but they also knew they had to bolster their starting lineup if they wanted to unlock their championship drought.

At the time, the team was excited about Choi Won-tae. “It’s like a blockage has been unlocked,” said Yeom Kyung-yeop. “When the team was in a tough situation, Choi Won-tae came and filled in well, and I think the timing of the trade was good because there could be a big crisis in July, and there are many positive factors because the conditions are in place to help him get used to life (in the new team).”

The anticipation showed in his first start. On July 30, Choi earned the win against the Doosan Bears with six innings of two-hit ball, striking out five and walking none. He lived up to Yeom’s expectations with a strong debut, especially with a 14-batter hitting streak.

However, after August, the assessment was different: while there was a glimmer of hope as he threw at least five innings against the Daegu Samsung Lions on May 5, the Jamsil Kiwoom Heroes on May 12, and the Incheon SSG Landers on May 18, his three subsequent appearances were poor in both content and results. His record since the move is 2-2 with an 8.27 ERA in seven games and 32⅔ innings pitched.

Historically, Choi has been better in the first half of his career than the second half. His career first and second halves are 121 games, 659⅔ innings, 47 wins, 32 losses, and a 4.17 ERA, and 70 games, 336⅓ innings, 21 wins, 18 losses, and a 4.84 ERA, respectively, which is a slight difference considering the different samples.메이저사이트

However, we can’t just blame the first and second half of the season. In the end, the team needs to look at its pitching staff, including Park Dong-won, Heo Do-hwan, and Kim Ki-yeon, their chemistry with each other, and their pitching patterns. If the rest of September passes without a clear turnaround, LG may not be able to find a way to utilize Choi Won-tae as they prepare for the postseason. This is something that Choi must overcome for the sake of his team and himself.