“I feel like it took a lot of effort.”
KIA left-handed set-up man Choi Ji-min, 20, tasted bitterness in the second half opener against Doosan on April 21. Trailing 1-2 in the top of the seventh, he relieved starter Mario Sanchez with runners on first and second. The bottom of the order, Park Kye-beom and Park Jun-young, walked. Sanchez’s command was down a bit, and Kim Jong-kook calculated that if he didn’t give up a run in that situation, he would have a chance to fight back.
However, Choi Ji-min did not live up to his expectations. With the count 1B1S, he tried to throw a three-pitch fastball low to Park Kye-beom and was hit on the left knee. With the bases loaded and two outs, he hit a nine-pitch triple to right-center field. The fastball was driven up the middle.
What stood out about Choi was that his fastball velocity was the fastest in recent memory. His fastball was clocked at 148-149 mph by Park Kye-beom and 151 mph by Park Jun-young, according to portal site Naver. In fact, after hitting 150km at the beginning of the season, his velocity has dropped a bit since June, but the All-Star break definitely helped him recharge his pitches 스포츠토토.
But it also confirmed the plain truth that restraint is not everything. In recent years, the ball has been the fastest, but the results have been the worst. When the Gwangju Doosan game was canceled due to rain on the 22nd of this month, Kim Jong-kook said, “I felt like I was using a lot of force, and when I tried to throw too hard, the ball hit the body.”
Specifically, Kim said, “I was trying to prevent the situation, so I threw hard, and the pitch shook a little because I was using too much force.” At the end of the first half, he said, “I think he realized it was a fastball rather than a fastball,” but this day was different.
For KIA, Choi Ji-min’s “Sanchez accounting” was disappointing, but she has been doing very well this season. In 38 games, he has a 3-2 record, 3 saves, 6 holds, a 1.90 ERA, a 0.192 batting average, and a 1.10 WHIP. He has become the best left-handed bullpen in the KBO beyond KIA.
However, there are some side effects of his inexperience as he has never been the main setup man full-time. This day is typical. He had more power than usual, so he pitched a fastball and lost. This experience can only make him stronger.
In the second half of the game, Kim Jong-kook brought in Jeong Jung-young, who has 74 career saves. Jung is now back in the closer’s role. With a 1-3 lead, it’s best for KIA to go with Choi in the eighth and Jung in the ninth. Add to that Lim Ki-young, Jeon Sang-hyun, Lee Jun-young, and Jang Hyun-sik. The quantity and quality of the pitching staff is very good. They don’t have to rely on Choi Ji-min, but he is still the core.
Coach Kim Jong-guk rarely used Choi as a finisher, even when Jung Hae-young was out in the first half. It was a gesture to show that he felt the pressure of finishing in her first full-time season. Even in the second half, Choi Ji-min was able to pass the baton to Jung Hae-young. This role also requires a lot of responsibility and stability. Kim believes that Choi will be able to fulfill this role well enough. The second half is a different story. The accumulation of bullpen failures can be fatal in the race for the title. Choi Ji-min got the shot in the arm right from the start of the second half.