With left-handed bullpen depleted, LG turns to Ham Deok-ju for urgency

The LG Twins have made a decision.

LG removed Duk-Joo Ham, 28, from the active roster on Monday. There is no injury. “He pitched a lot of innings (55 and two-thirds innings) for the first time in a long time, so his recovery was a little slow, so I think he’ll be better after 10 days off (when he can re-register for the first team),” said LG manager Yoon Kyung-yeop, adding, “If (fatigue) hits at once, (the absence) could be longer.”

Over the course of a season, dozens of players move up and down the roster. Ham Deok-ju’s delisting may not seem like anything special. But when you look at the composition of LG’s roster, it’s a different story. If the 29th game against the Doosan Bears in Jamsil, Seoul, had not been rained out, LG would have been without a left-handed bullpen. Ham Deok-ju’s spot was filled by left-hander Kim Yun-sik, who is a starter. Ham Deok-ju was the only lefty in the first-team bullpen. Out of the 10 KBO clubs, LG was the only one without a left-handed bullpen.

The lack of a left-handed bullpen is part of manager Yoon Kyung-yeop’s baseball philosophy. “We have pitchers who can catch left-handed batters. (Right-handed pitchers) Kim Jin-sung and Yoo Young-chan are playing the role of left-handed pitchers. Regardless of the type of (pitching), it’s more important to be strong against left-handed hitters.”

It is almost an orthodoxy that sidearms (underhand) are weak against left-handed hitters. Coach Yoon Kyung-yeop believes that it can be overcome if you have a “solid weapon.” “Neither Ko Young-pyo (KT Wiz) nor Lim Ki-young (KIA Tigers) are weak against left-handed hitters,” he said. Both are side-armed pitchers, but they use their changeup as their main weapon to effectively face left-handed hitters. If you look at the metrics, they’re even better against left-handed hitters than right-handed hitters.

LG has recently closed the gap on the second-place KT Wiz. Being in a chasing position, they could increase their reliance on their bullpen, but they decided to go back to the drawing board. That makes Ham Deok-ju an important resource.

Since arriving in an LG uniform via trade in March 2021, Ham has been plagued by injuries, appearing in just 16 games in 2021 and 13 last year. This year has been different. He bounced back with a 1.62 ERA in 57 games. He is the first option to fill the void if closer Ko Woo-seok is sent to the Asian Games (AG) in Hangzhou in September.스포츠토토

Manager Yoon Kyung-yup said, “The later games (late innings) are more important. “The last 30 games are much more important than the last six games,” he said. “If you keep dragging it out (in a bad state), you’ll take damage when you have to fight. There is a high probability of winning there.”


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