‘Gum number one’ LG bares its teeth, and in June, it’s even harder

The LG Twins of the Korean Baseball Organization are on a roll. Despite a rash of early season injuries, they’ve shown why they’re the favorite to win the World Series, boasting one of the league’s best pitching combinations. They’ll be even more formidable once the injured return next month.

The power of the bats is evident in the team metrics. As of the 29th, LG’s team batting average is .290, good for first place out of 10 teams. The same goes for slugging percentage, on-base percentage, and runs scored. The team ranks fourth in home runs, but more than makes up for it by stranding runners in scoring position. Their batting average with runners in scoring position is more than a penny higher than their normal batting average, and their 23 sacrifice flies are the most of any club.메이저놀이터

On the other side of the ball, things are even more colorful. The standout is Park Dong-won. Heading into this season, the four-year, 6.5 billion won LG player leads the league in home runs (13), slugging percentage (.587), and OPS (.958). He’s clearly on a career-high pace. Austin Dean, who is tied for the team lead in RBIs, and Moon Sung-ju Hong, who is 1-2 in slugging percentage, are also giving 120%. Veteran Kim Hyun-soo, who has been in a bit of a slump this month, is another hitter who can come alive at any time. From 1-9, there is literally no rest for the wicketkeeper.

The same goes for the mound. Leading the way is Im Chan-kyu. He started the season in the bullpen, so he doesn’t pitch nearly enough innings, but he’s been unstoppable this season, going 5-0 with a 1.97 ERA in 11 games. His performance this month is even more ace-like. He’s 4-0 with a 1.13 ERA. The day before, he threw a seven-inning no-hitter against the KIA Tigers. Plus, the outfield duo of Casey Kelly and Adam Plutko are back to their old selves.

LG has been in a two-month pennant race with virtually four starters and no closers. Lee Min-ho has been sidelined with an elbow and Go Woo-seok with shoulder and back injuries, and both are close to returning.

The first to return to the first team is Lee Min-ho. He will make his return in a big game against the third-place Lotte Giants on March 30. In his most recent start, on July 17 against Lotte in the Futures League (2nd Division), he gave up two hits and two walks in two innings of scoreless relief. He may not be able to pitch long innings right away. More than that, he needs to improve his command of his pitches.

The return of national team closer Ko Woo-seok is also very close. He pitched one inning against the Hanwha Eagles in the Futures Series on April 26 to check his condition. With the pain gone, he is expected to be called up early next month at the latest. Big gun prospect Lee Jae-won, who recently left the lineup with a thigh injury, is also likely to return sometime next month.

There is hardly a manager among the 10 clubs who doesn’t talk about making a leap in June. It has been an injury-prone start to the season for both strong and weak teams, but LG has led the way with ‘gum’. In the bullpen, the new trio of Park Myung-geun, Ham Deok-joo, and Yoo Young-chan were established, and in the starting lineup, Im Chan-kyu made a spectacular comeback. LG is about to show its ‘teeth’ in earnest, which is why it’s even scarier.

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