The task raised by the ‘sheep’s slump’… Lee Eui-ri, will the tigers ace continue the narrative?

Will Eui-Ri Lee lead the Tigers Ace baton?

Yang Hyeon-jong is the flagship pitcher of the KIA Tigers. He joined in 2007 and won 164 wins as a KIA One Clubman. All are starters. He threw 170 innings for 8 consecutive years until last year. This is the first record by a Korean pitcher. He did his job as a starting pitcher. Perhaps, after Seon Dong-yeol (No. 18) of the ‘Mudeungsan Bomber’ and Lee Jong-beom (No. 7) of the ‘Baseball Genius’, the number 54 will be placed in the permanent number corner.   

This year, various bad symptoms appear and cause concern. He appeared in 19 games and pitched 106⅔ innings. He is a fire extinguisher with just over 5 or 6 innings per game. The quality start was only 6 times. He has an earned run average of 4.39, a batting average of 3.1 and a WHIP of 1.55. It is a career low record in various indicators after stepping up as a leading pitcher.

In one game, there was a game that collapsed due to a large number of goals. Following 9 runs in 2 innings against Sajik Lotte in early June and 7 runs in 4⅔ innings against Incheon SSG, a no game was declared against LG in Gwangju on the 8th due to heavy rain, but 9 hits and 8 runs were allowed in 2 innings. After recharging for 6 days, he took the mound against Gwangju Kiwoom on the 15th, but gave up 7 runs in 5⅔ innings. In the end, he was expelled from the entry to give time for readjustment on the 16th. 

Most of them cite slow speed as the reason. In the early days before Kiwoom on the 15th, he threw up to 147km, but his fastball average was only 140km. He couldn’t keep up the speed. As his velocity dropped, so did his slider and changeup. Director Kim Jong-guk explained the reason, saying, “Vertical movement has decreased.” He also means that the drop on his breaking ball is small.

Yang Hyeon-jong has been leading the mound since 2014 as a pitcher. He was an immovable ace until May of this year, except for the 2021 season when he challenged the major leagues. He opened the narrative of the ace in 2017 by winning the second leg 1-0 shutout. He won the regular league MVP and Korean Series MVP, and was dubbed the great pitcher. Even after that, the team soothed the hearts of fans by consistently pitching more than 170 innings even though they were unable to play fall baseball.  

Yang Hyeon-jong’s sluggish performance this year was unexpected. There was a prospect that it would not be as good as before because of his age, but it was unexpected that he was sluggish due to such a sudden decrease in restraint and pitch. It may also be that she built up her body early by participating in the WBC national team in February. Nevertheless, it is also an age at which we cannot help but mention the aging curve. 

The ace, which was a constant on the mound, has now become a variable. Yang Hyeon-jong will make great efforts to find new clues during the ten-day recharging period. The team also needs Yang Hyeon-jong to play fall baseball. Coach Kim did not miss the expectation, saying, “Yang Hyeon-jong must revive and become a support for the mound. Hyun-jong must show his old pitch in the next turn.” 

Regardless of whether Yang Hyeon-jong is resurrected, KIA now needs to prepare a new, young ace. Naturally, the existence of left-handed Eui-ri Lee is emerging. In the first half, he was anxious because of his pitching, but in the second half, he showed a sense of stability and pitched 6 innings, a quality start. He also excels at over 150km of fastballs, changeups, sliders and curveballs. As it becomes the first ball, its power is increasing. 스포츠토토

He confidently goes the way of an ace by winning 10 wins for the second year in a row. Judging from his performance in the third year of joining, it is difficult to see Lee Eui-ri’s progress as slow. However, Lee Eui-ri’s perspective is mixed with anxiety. He said that right after the command tower also won 10 wins, he said, “There is still an uneasy figure,” and he did not give him the title of ace. Lee Eui-ri’s ace narrative was not opened. This is the task given by Yang Hyeon-jong.

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