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KBO Update, May 31 to June 6: Dr. Slump

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

LG Twins v Kiwoom Heroes
Roberto Ramos
Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/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

May 31 (16-7)

LG Twins 12, KIA Tigers 5 (BOX)

The Twins got back to their winning ways, beating up on former Mets pitcher Drew Gagnon, touching him up for five runs over four innings. The middle relievers who followed him did not have much luck either, as Gun-hee Hong, Jin-tae Park, and Hyun-joon Kim combined to allow eight more runs. All in all, the Twins combined to unleash 20 hits on the unsuspecting Tigers pitchers.

  • CF Chun-woong Lee: 2-5, 2 R, RBI, BB, K, SB (5)
  • DH Hyun-soo Kim: 1-4, R, RBI, K
  • DH Yong-taik Park: 1-1, R, 2 RBI
  • DH Keun-woo Jeong: 1-1
  • RF Eun-sung Chae: 3-4, R, 2 RBI, K
  • C Sung-woo Lee: 0-1
  • 1B Roberto Ramos: 1-2, R, K
  • 1B Yong-yi Kim: 1-3, R, RBI
  • 3B Min-sung Kim: 1-5, K
  • SS Bon-hyeok Koo: 0-0
  • LF Chang-gi Hong: 1-4, 2 R, RBI, HBP, SB (1)
  • SS Ji-hwan Oh: 2-3, R, 2 RBI, BB, CS (1)
  • 3B Seung-hyun Baek: 0-1
  • C Kang-nam Yoo: 3-4, R, 2 RBI, K
  • RF Suk-hyun Han: 0-1
  • 2B Ju-hyeon Jung: 3-5, R, RBI, K
  • RHP Tyler Wilson: 6 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, HR, W (2-2)
  • LHP Hae-soo Jin: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
  • RHP Eun-beom Song: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Dae-hyun Kim: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, HR

June 01 (16-7)

NO GAME (SCHEDULE)

June 02 (16-8)

Samsung Lions 2, LG Twins 0 (BOX)

Twins starter Min-ho Lee and Lions starter Tae-in Won found themselves engaged in a pitching duel. Both went seven innings and both were stingy with the hits, but Lee’s hiccup in the first was what got him tagged with the L and gave Won the win. Lee let the first two batters of the game to get on base, and Tyler Saladino followed with a double into left, allowing both to score. Those two runs would end up being the only runs scored in the entire game, as both starters and all relievers held over the course of the rest of the game.

  • CF Chun-woong Lee: 1-4
  • LF Hyun-soo Kim: 1-4
  • RF Eun-sung Chae: 1-4, K
  • DH Roberto Ramos: 1-3, K
  • 3B Min-sung Kim: 1-3
  • SS Ji-hwan Oh: 0-3
  • 2B Ju-hyeon Jung: 0-2
  • 1B Chang-gi Hong: 0-1, K
  • C Kang-nam Yoo: 0-3
  • 1B Yong-yi Kim: 0-2, 2 K
  • PH Yong-taik Park: 0-1, K
  • 2B Bon-hyeok Koo: 0-0
  • RHP Min-ho Lee: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, HBP, L (1-1)
  • RHP Eun-beom Song: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Geon-wook Yeo: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

June 03 (16-9)

Samsung Lions 12, LG Twins 6 (BOX)

The Twins took the lead early, plating a run apiece in the second and third innings, but the Lions came roaring back in the middle innings, touching up Casey Kelly for four runs in the fourth and four more in the fifth. The Twins offense kept plugging away, but the bullpen was leaky.

  • CF Chun-woong Lee: 0-5, 2 K
  • 2B Seung-hyun Baek: 0-0
  • LF Hyun-soo Kim: 2-5, R
  • RF Eun-sung Chae: 3-5, K
  • PR Suk-hyun Han: 0-0
  • 1B Roberto Ramos: 0-3, RBI, BB, 2 K
  • 3B Min-sung Kim: 1-5, R, HR (1), RBI, K
  • DH Keun-woo Jeong: 2-4, 2 R
  • SS Ji-hwan Oh: 2-4, R
  • C Kang-nam Yoo: 2-4, R, HR (3), 2 RBI, K
  • 2B Ju-hyeon Jung: 1-2
  • PH Yong-taik Park: 1-1, RBI
  • 2B Bon-hyeok Koo: 0-0
  • CF Chang-gi Hong: 0-1
  • RHP Casey Kelly: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, HR, HBP, L (2-1)
  • RHP Dae-hyun Kim: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, HR
  • RHP Dong-hwan Choi: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

June 04 (17-9)

LG Twins 11, Samsung Lions 0 (BOX)

Hoping to avoid being swept, the Twins offense stepped up, destroying Lions starter Jung-hyun Baek. The Twins hammered Baek to the tune of 11 runs- 8 earned- on 14 hits over four innings. The Lions bullpen interestingly enough completely shut the Twins offense down, with all four relievers combining to allow just a single baserunner, a walk Eun-sung Chae drew in the fifth.

  • CF Chun-woong: 2-5, 2 RBI
  • LF Hyun-soo Kim: 1-4, R
  • LF Chang-gi Hong: 0-1
  • RF Eun-sung Chae: 1-4, 2 R, BB, K
  • 1B Roberto Ramos: 2-5, R, K, E (2)
  • 1B Yong-yi Kim: 0-0
  • 3B Min-sung Kim: 2-3, R, 2 RBI
  • SS Bon-hyeok Koo: 0-1, R
  • DH Yong-taik Park: 1-2, R, 2 RBI
  • 2B Keun-woo Jeong: 1-4, R
  • 2B Ju-hyeon Jung: 0-0
  • C Kang-nam Yoo: 3-4, 3 R, HR (4), 4 RBI, K
  • C Sung-woo Lee: 0-0
  • SS Ji-hwan Oh: 1-4, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • 3B Seung-hyun Baek: 0-0
  • RHP Chan-heon Jung: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 K, W (2-1)
  • RHP Woo-young Jung: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • LHP Hae-soo Jin: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Sang-gyu Lee: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

June 05 (17-10)

Kiwoom Heroes 6, LG Twins 3 (BOX)

Twins starter Chan-gyu Lim got beat up early by the long ball, giving up a three-run homer to Dong-won Park in the first and another to Ha-seong Kim in the second, giving the Heroes an early 6-0 lead. Lim settled down and put up zeroes for the rest of his time on the mound, giving the Twins offense a change to get back into the game. Roberto Ramos hit a two-run homer in the fourth to make it a 6-2 game, but the Twins ended up being unable to turn the tide. They managed only one more run, a second homer by Ramos in the ninth. With the two homers, the slugger increased his league-leading home run total to 12. With as many long balls in just 26 games, the Mexican slugger seems well on his way to breaking the LG Twins single-season home run record of 30 homers, set by Byung-kyu Lee in 1999. In theory, if Ramos keeps the pace up, the single-season KBO home run record of 56, set by Seung-yuop Lee, may be in play.

  • CF Chun-woong Lee: 1-4
  • LF Hyun-soo Kim: 0-4
  • SS Seung-hyun Baek: 0-0
  • RF Eun-sung Chae: 1-2, R
  • RF Chang-gi Hong: 1-2, K
  • 1B Roberto Ramos: 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR (11, 12), 3 RBI, K
  • 3B Kim Min-sung Kim: 0-4
  • DH Yong-taik Park: 1-3, 1 BB, 2 K
  • 2B Keun-woo Jeong: 0-4
  • C Kang-nam Yoo: 0-3, K
  • SS Ji-hwan Oh: 0-3, K
  • LF Kim Yong-yi Kim: 0-0
  • RHP Chan-gyu Lim: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 2 HR, L (2-2)
  • RHP Dae-hyun Kim: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Won-suk Ryu: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
  • LHP Sung-hoon Choi: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

June 06 (17-11)

Kiwoom Heroes 5, LG Twins 4 (BOX)

Heroes starter Seung-ho Lee looked like he was going to be a disaster, walking the bases loaded in the first, but the Twins were unable to capitalize. While they were able to score two runs in that situation, they let Lee settle down, scoring just one more run against him. Tyler Wilson, meanwhile, looked solid, and the Twins were in control for most of the game. Kiwoom finally got on the board in the bottom of the seventh, scoring two runs to make it a 4-2 game. They scored another in the eighth, tightening the noose. Closer Sang-gyu Lee pitched the ninth but choked despite needing just one more out to end the game with the lead.

  • CF-RF Lee Chun-woong Lee: 2-5, R, RBI
  • LF Kim Hyun-soo Kim: 1-3, R, 2 BB
  • 3B Min-sung Kim: 0-2, R, 2 BB, K
  • 1B Roberto Ramos: 0-2, RBI, BB
  • DH Yong-taik Park: 1-4, RBI
  • 2B Keun-woo Jeong: 0-3, RBI, K
  • 2B Bon-hyeok Koo: 0-0
  • RF-CF Chang-gi Hong: 1-4, R, K
  • C Kang-nam Yoo: 1-4, 2 K
  • SS Ji-hwan Oh: 0-3, K
  • RHP Tyler Wilson: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
  • RHP Woo-young Jung: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
  • LHP Hae-soo Jin: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
  • RHP Sang-gyu Lee: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, L (2-1)

HITTER OF THE WEEK

Roberto Ramos

6-17, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K, 0/0 SB

PITCHER OF THE WEEK

Chan-heon Jung

7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 K

Born January 26, 1990 in Gwangju, South Korea Chan-heon Jung was a force to be reckoned with while pitching for Gwangju Jeil High School. In 2007, his third year there, he was MVP of the 41st Presidential Cup National High School Baseball Championship. His performance opened eyes, and at the age of 17, he made the South Korea National Baseball Team, pitching in the 2007 Baseball World Cup. The Korean delegation went 6-4, with Jung pitching only once, against the Thai National Team, which was making its first Baseball World Cup appearance. The right-hander allowed two runs on five hits over five innings, striking out six.

In 2008, after graduating from high school, he was drafted by the LG Twins in the second round of the 2008 KBO Draft and immediately made his professional debut. Initially used as a starter, Jung lost eleven starts in a row and finished the season in the bullpen, posting a 5.50 ERA in 106.1 innings, allowing 131 hits, walking 36, and striking out 59. In 2010, he pitched exclusively as a reliever and posted a 5.78 ERA in 76.1 innings, allowing 81 hits, walking 35, and striking out 56. The right-hander then lost three years due to an elbow injury, a back injury, and his compulsory military service, finally returning to the mound in 2013.

Jung pitched primarily out of the bullpen as a middle reliever throughout the 2010s, and while middle relievers are generally fungible and forgettable, Jung often was talked about throughout the years, but generally speaking, he was not being talked about in a positive light. In April 2014, he sparked a benches-clearing brawl, a rarity in the KBO. In June 2015, he was arrested for getting into a car accident while drunk and was suspended by the team.

Twelve years passed between his first win as a starting pitcher, in 2008, and his second, this season. Eight days later, he won his third. Pressed into service as a starter as manager Joong-il Ryu opted to expand his starting rotation to put less stress on his starters in this condensed season, the right-hander is currently performing admirably, possessing a 3.52 ERA in 23.0 innings, allowing 22 hits, walking 6, and striking out 25. Earlier in his career, Jung was a true fireballer, with a fastball hovered in the mid-90s, but injuries and age have taken their toll, and now the pitch sits in the high-80s. His main strikeout pitch is his curveball, but his repertoire is composed of three other pitches in addition.

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)

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)