How far can the miracle-working KT Wiz go?

KT was in last place at the beginning of June, but two months later, they’re in third place with no game difference to second-place SSG Landers.

With a win-loss margin of -14 to +11, the team has been called the miracle team of the 2023 season.

KT has the strongest starting lineup in the 10 clubs. As KT manager Lee Kang-cheol said, “Our team feels like the sixth inning is an early game,” and KT starters go not only through the sixth inning but also through the seventh inning.

The team with the most quality starts this season is KT with 48, and KT also leads the league in quality starts plus (7 innings or more with 3 earned runs or less) with 26.

Since June, KT is 40-17 with a 7.2% winning percentage, far ahead of the second-place LG Twins (32-1 with a 0.615 winning percentage). In particular, out of the 32 games with quality starts, KT is 27-5 with a winning percentage of 8.44%. KT’s winning formula of a starter going six or more innings, the offense scoring enough runs to win, and keeping the game close has certainly been working well since June, when the injuries returned.

The five starters, consisting of William Cuevas, Wes Benjamin, and Ko Young-pyo, have been so steady that they can even be considered a contender against the top-ranked LG for now. The starting pitching is one of the reasons why LG coach Yeom Kyung-yup admits that “KT is playing much more stable than us right now.”

However, there is a weakness that is masked by the starting pitching. It’s the bullpen. The bullpen is small, with only Kim Jae-yoon as the closer and Park Young-hyun and Son Dong-hyun as the set-up men. If the starter throws around six innings, Son Dong-hyun, Park Young-hyun, and Kim Jae-yoon will protect the win. If the starters go less than five innings, they struggle.

Since June, KT’s starters have gone five innings or more versus five innings or less, with a 32-7 record and a winning percentage of 8.2/1, but the team is 8-10 in games where the starter went five innings or less.

For LG, which has an abundance of pitching depth, it was quite different from KT. When their starters went more than five innings, they were 15-1 with a winning percentage of 6.5, and when they went five innings or less, they were 16-12 with a winning percentage of 5.7. Even when the starters went down early, the bullpen was able to close out the game.

KT started Lee Sun-woo in place of the rested Ko Young-pyo against the Hanwha Eagles on the 18th, but Lee gave up a bunch of runs in the bottom of the fourth inning with a 4-2 lead and lost 6-11. A five-game winning streak was halted. After Lee Sun-woo, Lee Chae-ho, Ha Joon-ho, Kim Min-min and Park Se-jin came on, but they couldn’t catch up as Hanwha gave up more runs.

The problem is September. In the end, the standings will be decided by the rest of the schedule. But that’s when the Asian Games come around, and key players will be away with their national teams. How the team fills the gap when key players are out could be the key to the standings battle. KT has Kang Baek-ho and Park Young-hyun on the national team. Filling Young-hyun’s void will be a top priority. Right now, Young-hyun is indispensable for KT. He is the setup man in front of the closer Kim Jae-yoon and also serves as the closer on days when Kim Jae-yoon is not pitching. Through 18 days, he has appeared in 54 games with a 3-3 record, 3 saves, 24 holds, and a 3.12 ERA. He leads the league in holds.

KT manager Lee Kang-cheol had been considering Kim Min-soo, who recorded 30 saves last year, as a backup setup man to replace Park, but Kim suffered a fractured ankle in training and is out for the season.먹튀검증

The extent to which KT can bolster its bullpen will be crucial to its chances of not only making the playoffs but also challenging for the top spot.

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