In a short game like the Korean Series, each player’s role in the roster is crystal clear. The 2023 Korean Series, which ended in an upset win for LG, was no exception.
There was one pitcher whose “usage” seemed a little more ambiguous. LG left-hander Son Ju-young (25), whose position was unclear from the time the roster was announced, didn’t pitch at all during the Korean Series until Game 5 against KT.굿모닝토토
There were situations where he could have pitched. In games two and three, which were one-run games, if the game had gone beyond the regular innings and into extra innings, anyone would have been in the bullpen, regardless of position. Moreover, in the second and third games, LG almost used up its main bullpen in the late innings due to the early withdrawal of starters.
After undergoing elbow ligament reconstruction surgery in April last year, Son rehabbed and returned to the first team in September. In his three appearances with the first team, he made two starts and one relief appearance. In his history, it was difficult for him to stand on the mound as a reliever at the clutch moment of a big stage like the Korean Series.
Therefore, the bench seems to be basically prepared for variables such as extra innings. In addition to this, another position that was expected of Son Joo-young was ‘shadow starting’.
Last week, LG pitching coach Kim Kyung-tae appeared on the sports-oriented baseball video channel “Choi Kang-bol Pen” to talk about LG’s Korean Series pitching staff, and he also shared some “behind-the-scenes” information about Son Joo-young.
According to Kim, Son had the potential to be a “surprise starter” in the event that any of LG’s four Korean Series starters – Casey Kelly, Choi Won-tae, Lim Chan-kyu, and Kim Yun-sik – had problems,
“In the 2007 Korean Series, SK used Kim Kwang-hyun, a rookie, as a surprise in Game 4 to turn the tide of the series,” said Kim. We reviewed those scenes and prepared for various situations with the coach.”
For example, LG was prepared to bring Kelly back for Game 4 if they dropped one of the second and third games after missing Game 1. The plan was to pull Kelly’s start date and reconfigure the rotation after Game 5, in which case the team would consider using Son in Game 6.
The reason why LG’s bench was so eager to start Son was because he had been performing so well in preparation for the Korean Series since training in Icheon began on October 19. LG used the blue-and-white series to get a feel for the game, and Son was impressive in each of his appearances. LG’s hitters were especially appreciative of the way she responded to the ball at the plate.
The Korean Series is over. Son didn’t throw a single pitch.
The question is what will happen next season? A 6-foot-2 left-hander, Son throws a fastball with good angle. Before his injury, he pitched six innings of two-hit, one-run ball against Gochuk Kiwoom on April 6 last year, and the general consensus is that his command is improving.