On August 24, the KIA Tigers began an eight-game winning streak against the KT Wiz in Suwon. The hero of the victory (7-3) was infielder Park Chan-ho, who hit a single to right field in the top of the ninth inning with the score tied at 3-3.
It was an offensive comeback. Down 2-3 and one run in the eighth inning, KIA tied the game at 3-3 when Park Chan-ho stole second base and Choi Hyung-woo hit an RBI single. In the ninth, the bottom of the order opened with Kim Tae-gun leading off with a single up the middle, and pinch-hitter Ko Jong-wook followed with a walk. The opposing batter walked Kim Do-young, who was hitting well, to load the bases. It was Park Chan-ho who got the job done.
Not to be overshadowed by the offense was the performance of the bullpen. Despite starting pitcher Thomas Pannoni giving up three runs on seven hits in five and two-thirds innings, KIA held KT without a run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Jang Hyun-sik, the second pitcher after Panoni, was shaky, giving up one hit and a walk, but Lee Joon-young got Kim Min-hyuk to pop out, and Im Ki-young, Lee Sang-hyun, and Jung Hae-young each pitched one inning of scoreless relief.
It’s worth noting that the bullpen’s performance was overshadowed by the firepower of the SSG Landers on March 3, when KIA won its eighth straight game. Starting pitcher Lee Yi-ri gave up four runs and second pitcher Park Joon-pyo gave up two runs after being hit by a home run, but Kim Dae-yoo, Jang Hyun-sik, Choi Ji-min, Choi Sang-hyun, Lim Ki-young, and Jeong Jung-young pitched the remaining five innings without allowing a run. Trailing 5-6 in the top of the eighth inning, the KIA bats came back with two runs, and in the top of the ninth, Kim Do-young hit a two-run solo home run. The bullpen paved the way for the comeback win.
During the eight-game winning streak, the “all-weather pitcher” appeared in six games and allowed just one run in six innings. He did everything from acting as the link between the starting pitching staff and the bullpen to being the set-up man right before the closer. KIA was left without a starter when foreign pitcher Mario Sanchez went down with an injury, but Kim Jong-guk didn’t turn to Im Ki-young, who has plenty of starting experience, as a replacement because of his role in the bullpen. After doing the heavy lifting all season, Lim shined during the team’s eight-game winning streak.먹튀검증
The traditional “Triple J” lineup of Jeon Sang-hyun, Jang Hyun-sik, and Jeong Hae-young also had solid outings. Jeon pitched five and one-third innings in Game 5, allowing just one run. He recorded two saves and two holds. Jang Hyun-sik also pitched one inning of scoreless relief in a nail-biter against the Gwangju Hanwha Eagles on March 27 and against SSG on March 3. Closer Jung Hae-young also earned three saves in four appearances without allowing an earned run. During the eight-game winning streak, the KIA bullpen posted a team ERA of 1.53 with six holds and three saves. The ERA and holds ranked first among the 10 clubs during that stretch.
KIA struggled to manage its winning percentage due to bullpen struggles in the first half. Jung Hae-young was sidelined for more than a month, and Choi Ji-min struggled in the setup man role. However, they came together at the most crucial time of the regular season. He has been as solid as ever, even when the heat and rainy weather have made it difficult to manage his physical condition. He’s been a big part of KIA’s run.