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KBO Update, June 21 to June 27: Spiraling

We check in on our adopted KBO team, the LG Twins.

Lotte Giants v LG Twins
Keun-woo Jeong
Photo by Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images

As regular From Complex to Queens listeners know, we’ve decided to start following a KBO team in the absence of Mets baseball for the foreseeable future. We picked a team and will post updates on how they’re doing over in Korea. Why the LG Twins?

  • Represent a major metropolitan area.
  • Share Seoul (and Jamsil Baseball Stadium) with a rival team and compete for fans.
  • Have been a team that, on paper, should compete but just have not been able to put things together over the last few years
  • Have a strong pitching staff in 2020.
  • Staff ace, Casey Kelly, has been denied numerous wins over the years due to anemic hitting and/or a leaky bullpen despite pitching quality starts.
  • LG Corporation spends money on the team but does not always allocate that money wisely.
  • Retired the number 41, worn by one of the best right-handed pitchers in team history.

Sounds like the Mets to me!

STANDINGS

June 21 (25-16)

Doosan Bears 3, LG Twins 1 (BOX)

Getting swept sucks but getting swept by your biggest rivals in your home ballpark sucks even more. Raul Alcántara threw a gem, allowing one run over eight strong innings. His lone blemish came in the eighth, when he was nearing 100 pitches. Catcher Kang-nam Yoo led off the inning with a double and the pinch runner he was replaced by came home to score a few batters later when Ji-hwan Oh hit a line drive into right. Twins starter Min-ho Lee didn’t labor, but his line was nowhere as crisp as Alcántara’s allowing two runs over five innings with 4 hits, 4 walks, and 2 hit batsmen. Reliever Geon-wook Yeo gave up another run after Lee was yanked, but given how Alcántara caged the Twins offense, it didn’t really matter much. With the loss, the Twins are 1-5 against the Bears this year.

  • CF Chun-woong Lee: 0-4
  • C Sung-woo Lee: 0-0
  • SS Ji-hwan Oh: 1-4, RBI, K
  • LF Hyun-soo Kim: 0-4, K
  • 1B Roberto Ramos: 2-4
  • RF Eun-sung Chae: 1-4
  • PR Min-jae Shin: 0-0
  • DH Yong-taik Park: 1-4, K
  • 2B Keun-woo Jeong: 2-4, K
  • PR Ju-hyeon Jung: 0-0
  • C Kang-nam Yoo: 1-3, E
  • 3B Ho-young Son: 0-0, R
  • PH Chang-gi Hong: 0-1, K
  • 3B Bon-hyeok Koo: 1-2
  • CF Ho-eun Kim: 0-1
  • RHP Min-ho Lee: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 2 HBP, WP, L (2-2)
  • RHP Geon-wook Yeo: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • LHP Hae-soo Jin: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
  • RHP Dae-hyun Kim: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
  • LHP Sung-hoon Choi: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Eun-beom Song: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

June 22 (25-16)

NO GAME (SCHEDULE)

June 23 (25-17)

Kiwoom Heroes 8, LG Heroes 3 (BOX)

The Heroes were handed their fourth straight loss after being swept over the weekend by the Bears. They initially took the lead in the bottom of the first on a Yong-taik Park RBI that was reviewed and affirmed, but it didn’t last long as the Heroes scored a pair of runs in the second. And three more in the third. The Twins scratched out a few more runs, but so did the Heroes, never allowing the Twins to get back within striking distance.

  • RF Chun-woong Lee: 1-5
  • CF Chang-gi Hong: 1-3, R, BB, 2 K
  • PH Ju-hyeon Jung: 0-1, K
  • LF Hyun-soo Kim: 2-4, R, RBI
  • 1B Roberto Ramos: 0-4, BB, K
  • DH Yong-taik Park: 1-1, RBI
  • DH Ho-eun Kim: 1-3, RBI
  • C Kang-nam Yoo: 0-4, K
  • C Sung-woo Lee: 0-0
  • 2B Keun-woo Jeong: 2-4, E
  • SS Ji-hwan Oh: 1-4, SB (9)
  • SS Bon-hyeok Koo: 0-0
  • 3B Joon-won Jang: 0-2
  • 3B Yong-yi Kim: 2-2, R
  • LHP Yun-sik Kim: 5.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 2 HBP, L (0-1)
  • RHP Dong-hwan Choi: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
  • RHP Gwang-eun Moon: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

June 24 (25-17)

POSTPONED (RAIN)

June 25 (25-19)

GAME ONE

Kiwoom Heroes 5, LG Heroes 2 (BOX)

For a variety of reasons, Tyler Wilson has struggled early on this season after having excellent seasons in 2018 and 2019. Given their losing streak, the Twins could’ve used a strong start by Wilson, and while he was not necessarily terrible, he wasn’t good enough. The right-hander allowed four runs over five innings, which, while not terrible, isn’t great. Combined with an anemic offense, the Twins dropped the first game of their double-header.

  • CF Chun-woong Lee: 1-4, R, 2 K
  • DH Keun-woo Jeong: 3-3, R, HBP, CS
  • LF Hyun-soo Kim: 2-4, RBI
  • 1B Roberto Ramos: 1-3, RBI, K
  • C Kang-nam Yoo: 1-4
  • SS Ji-hwan Oh: 1-4, K
  • SS Seung-hyun Baek: 0-0
  • 2B Ju-hyeon Jung: 0-3
  • PH Min-su Jeon: 0-1, K
  • RF Jae-won Lee: 0-3, 2 K
  • PH Yong-yi Kim: 0-1
  • 3B Joon-won Jang: 0-2
  • PH Ho-eun Kim: 0-1
  • 3B Bon-hyeok Koo: 0-0
  • PH Chang-gi Hong: 0-1
  • RHP Tyler Wilson: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, HBP, L (3-3)
  • LHP Sung-hoon Choi: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
  • RHP Sang-gyu Lee: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Geon-wook Yeo: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, WP

GAME TWO

Kiwoom Heroes 8, LG Heroes 5 (BOX)

The Twins dropped the nightcap of the doubleheader as well, increasing their losing streak to six games in a row. Woo-chan Cha turned in one of his best performances this season, and for a while the team had a pretty solid lead, but the bullpen imploded. Cha was removed in the top of the seventh and all hell broke loose. The Heroes batted around in the inning, scoring four runs off of Eun-beom Song and Hae-soo Jin. The Twins clung to their 5-4 lead into the ninth, when the bullpen blew it a second time. Woo-young Jung gave up a grand slam to “the Barry Bonds of Korea” himself, former LG Twins legend Byung-ho Park.

  • RF Chun-woong Lee: 1-5, R, K
  • CF Chang-gi Hong: 1-5, RBI, 2 K
  • LF Hyun-soo Kim: 1-5, R, RBI
  • DH Roberto Ramos: 2-5, RBI, 2 K
  • 1B Ho-eun Kim: 0-3, K
  • 2B Ju-hyeon Jung: 0-1
  • SS Ji-hwan Oh: 1-3, R, BB, 2 K
  • 2B Keun-woo Jeong: 1-2
  • 1B Yong-yi Kim: 2-2, R, RBI
  • C Sung-woo Lee: 0-2
  • 3B Bon-hyeok Koo: 0-2
  • PH Min-su Jeon: 0-0
  • PH Kang-nam Yoo: 1-1
  • 3B Joon-won Jang: 0-0, R
  • PH Min-jae Shin: 0-1, K
  • 3B Seung-hyun Baek: 0-0
  • LHP Woo-chan Cha: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
  • RHP Eun-beom Song: 0.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • LHP Hae-soo Jin: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, HBP
  • RHP Dae-hyun Kim: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
  • RHP Woo-young Jung: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, HR, L (1-2)
  • RHP Dong-hwan Choi: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

June 26 (25-20)

SK Wyverns 7, LG Twins 0 (BOX)

We’ve past the point where it is a spot of bad luck and officially entered the point where it’s spiraling out of control. The Wyverns are the second-worst team in the league and they easily handled the Twins, dominating them in terms of pitching and hitting. Not good.

  • DH Chun-woong Lee: 0-4, K
  • RF Min-su Jeon: 1-3, BB
  • LF Hyun-soo Kim: 0-4
  • CF Yong-yi Kim: 0-0
  • 1B Roberto Ramos: 1-3. BB, 2 K
  • C Kang-nam Yoo: 0-3, HBP
  • SS Ji-hwan Oh: 1-3, BB, CS
  • CF Chang-gi Hong: 0-2
  • LF Jae-won Lee: 0-0, BB
  • 2B Ju-hyeon Jung: 0-2
  • PH Keun-woo Jeong: 0-1, K
  • 2B Min-jae Shin: 0-0
  • 3B Joon-won Jang: 0-1, K
  • PH Ho-eun Kim: 0-1
  • 3B Bon-hyeok Koo: 0-0
  • RHP Casey Kelly: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, HR, L (3-3)
  • LHP Sung-hoon Choi: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
  • RHP Seon-tae Tae: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, WP

June 27 (26-20)

LG Twins 3, SK Wyverns 0 (BOX)

Finally! It’s been a while since the Twins got a win, and starter Chan-heon Jung got them there in style, pitching the Twins first complete game shutout of the season. The offense still looked a bit sluggish, but the handful of runs they scratched out proved more than enough. Chun-woong Lee drove in a run in the third, Ho-eun Kim drove in another in the sixth, and Lee drove in another in the ninth, a very symmetrical win for a team that badly needed one.

  • CF Chun-woong Lee: 3-3, 2 RBI, BB, CS (4)
  • SS Ji-hwan Oh: 0-5
  • LF Hyun-soo Kim: 1-5
  • DH Roberto Ramos: 0-4, 2 K
  • C Kang-nam Yoo: 1-4, R, 2 K
  • 1B Ho-eun Kim: 2-3, RBI, K
  • 1B Yong-yi Kim: 0-1
  • RF Chang-gi Hong: 0-3, R, BB
  • 2B Ju-hyeon Jung: 1-3, R, K, SB (2)
  • 3B Joon-won Jang: 2-3, K
  • 3B Bon-hyeok Koo: 1-1
  • RHP Chan-heon Jung: 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K

HITTER OF THE WEEK

Keun-woo Jeong

8-14, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 BB, 2 K, HBP, 0/1 SB

Keun-woo Jeong was born in Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city, on October 2, 1982. He attended Busan High School in Busan and was a mainstay not only on their baseball team, but on the South Korea 18-U national team as well. In 2000, he went 9-for-27 for the 18-U national team in the World Junior Baseball Championship and outshined fellow teammates Shin-soo Choo, Tae-kyun Kim, and Dae-ho Lee. After graduating high school, he was considered one of the top infield prospects in Korea, but he went undrafted in the 2001 KBO Draft and attended Korea University instead. After an excellent collegiate career, he entered into the 2005 KBO Draft and was selected by the SK Wyverns in the second round, 15th overall. He appeared in 52 games for them that year and was relatively disappointing as a rookie, hitting .193/.255/.216 overall. He did much better in 2006, hitting .284/.342/.402 with 45 stolen bases in 140 games and continued improving over the next few years, establishing himself as one of the best second basemen in the league. His best season came in 2009, when he hit .350/.437/.483 with 9 home runs and 53 stolen bases. In 2014, he signed with the Hanwha Eagles as a free agent, and while he slowed down on the base paths, he continued hitting around .300 and added a little more power to his game. This past winter, he signed with the LG Twins.

Once described by pitcher-turned-scout Ryan Sadowski as the “David Eckstein of Korea”, Keun-woo Jeong has been one of the better infielders in the league since breaking in. An excellent hitter, he was a base stealing threat, swiping twenty or more bases for ten years straight. Since entering his 30s, he has slowed down on the base paths slightly, but has added additional power to his game, an area he was lacking in his younger years. Defensively, Jeong has smooth footwork and a lot of range. His arm is not the best, and has led to him being prone to making errors in the past, but despite them, is generally considered a fair defender.

PITCHER OF THE WEEK

Chan-heon Jung

9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K

HITTER OF THE WEEK

May 3 to May 9: Hyun-soo Kim (6-17, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 0/0 SB)

May 10 to May 16: Roberto Ramos (6-16, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 7 K, 0/0 SB)

May 17 to May 22: Eun-sung Chae (8-25, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 0 BB, 4 K, 0/0 SB)

May 24 to May 30: Roberto Ramos (9-23, 0 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K, 0/0 SB)

May 31 to June 6: Roberto Ramos (6-17, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K, 0/0 SB)

June 7 to June 13: Hyun-soo Kim (7-22, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 0/0 SB)

June 14 to June 20: Ji-hwan Oh (11-23, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, HBP, 1/1 SB)

PITCHER OF THE WEEK

May 3 to May 9: Woo-chan Cha (6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, HR)

May 10 to May 16: Casey Kelly (6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)

May 17 to May 22: Tyler Wilson (7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, HR)

May 24 to May 30: Casey Kelly (6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 10 K)

May 31 to June 6: Chan-heon Jung (7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 K)

June 7 to June 13: Min-ho Lee (7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K)

June 14 to June 20: Chan-gyu Lim (6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 2 HBP)