Will “Jamsil Jesus” Casey Kelly (LG Twins), who recently set the stage for a rebound, be able to ease LG manager Yeom Kyung-yeop, who is struggling to form the starting lineup.
Kelly will take the mound as a starting pitcher in the 2023 professional baseball KBO League home game against the Doosan Bears at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on the 31st.
Kelly, who has been wearing LG’s pin stripe uniform since 2019, reigned as an ace with 58 wins, 31 losses, and a 2.89 ERA in 114 games (697 innings) until last year. In particular, he played in 27 games (166.1 innings) in the 2022 season, recording 16 wins, 4 losses, and a 2.54 ERA, making him the most wins.
But Kelly has faltered this year. He played 24 games (141.1 innings) before the Doosan match, but only had 8 wins, 7 losses and a 4.39 ERA. The main reason is that the value of the pitch of the change-up (change-up hit rate of 0.364 this season) has decreased. Then, even a powerful fastball (fastball hit rate of 0.336) lost strength, and he was forced to struggle with a slump.
Fortunately, Kelly made a splendid comeback against the Lotte Giants in Jamsil on the 24th, his last appearance. Spraying 85 balls, he recorded three hits, one walk, and no runs in six innings, tying Lotte’s batters tightly to his eighth win of the season. It was his first scoreless game in 24 games since the opening.
Above all, it was encouraging that the change-up came to life. LG manager Yeom Kyung-yeop, who met on the 25th, the next day, also said, “My ball control was good. The angle of the change-up was also good. “When I used the change-up, I didn’t get any hits,” he said with satisfaction.
In the meantime, right-hander Adam Plutko (11 wins, 3 losses, 2.41 ERA), who firmly defended LG’s starting lineup, has recently been hampered by an unexpected injury, making Kelly’s shoulders heavier. Plutko, who complained of left adductor muscle pain in the match against the Changwon NC Dinos on the 26th, was diagnosed with left pelvic bone contusion as a result of an MRI examination. It is expected to take four to five weeks to return.
With Plutko missing, LG is expected to set up a starting lineup with Kelly, Choi Won-tae, Lim Chan-kyu, Jung Woo-young and Kim Yoon-sik. Obviously, all of them are competitive pitchers, but the existence of an ace is essential in a situation where the ranking battle is heating up. For LG, the best scenario is that Kelly continues to rise and regain the power of previous years.
In particular, LG has lost three consecutive weekends against the NC Dinos at Changwon NC Park from the 25th to the 27th. Although he is still in the top spot with 65 wins, 2 draws and 41 losses in the season, he allowed a 4.5-game gap over the second-place KT Wiz (62 wins, 2 draws and 47 losses). For now, it is urgent to escape the losing streak, and Kelly’s good pitching is urgently needed for that.
After the match against Lotte on the 24th, “My goal is to work harder than anyone else to make a good pitch every time I take the mound.” “I think my best self will come soon,” Kelly said. Will he be able to save LG, which is in crisis with a good pitching. Many baseball fans are paying attention.
Meanwhile, Doosan will send right-hander Kwak Bin to the plate in response. He has played in 18 games (102 innings) this season, marking 10 wins, 6 losses and a 2.74 ERA. 먹튀검증