Yoo Young-chan has continued his remarkable pitching

LG Twins pitcher Yoo Young-chan has continued his remarkable pitching in his first year in the closer’s role. Manager Yoon Kyung-yup has named him the team’s most valuable player in the first half of the season.

On April 4, LG and Kiwoom played at the Gocheok SkyDome in Seoul. LG scored two runs in the first inning and took a 3-1 lead into the seventh inning. After Lim Chan-kyu (six innings, one run) and Kim Jin-sung (one inning, no-hit) in the seventh, left-hander Lee Sang-young came on to face Kiwoom’s top of the order in the eighth.

Lee got Lee Joo-hyung to ground out to second base, but Dawson walked and Kim Hye-sung singled to put runners on first and second.

LG brought in closer Yoo Young-chan early. Yoo couldn’t get a forkball out and walked Song Sung-moon on eight pitches. One hit away from tying the game, Choi Ju-hwan grounded out to the second baseman to make the score 3-2. With runners on first and third, Byun Sang-gwon grounded out to second base to preserve the one-run lead.

Yoo Young-chan retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth inning to earn the “five-out save” with 1.2 innings of one-hit, one walk and no strikeouts. LG finished the first half in second place with the win.

After the game,

Yoo commented on his multi-inning performance, saying, “I’m in a big situation, so I’m not thinking about the eighth inning, I’m just thinking about protecting the team’s win. (In the eighth inning), the mound felt a little different than I thought it would, so it was hard to get my balance. I tried to throw as well as I could under the circumstances.”

Selected by LG in the fifth round (43rd overall) of the second round of the 2020 KBO Draft, Yoo made his first-team debut last year after completing his military service.

He started last year as a chaser and became a must-win pitcher, 무료 고스톱 게임 going 6-3 with a 3.44 ERA in 67 games, one save and 12 holds. It was a great rookie year. He had a gutsy performance in the Korean Series. In three games, he pitched six innings with one save and one run allowed (1.50 ERA).

The closer’s spot became vacant when Go Woo-seok moved to the United States last winter. Yeom didn’t hesitate to pick Young-chan Yoo as the new closer.

Yoo’s faith was rewarded with a dazzling pitching performance. In 37 appearances in the first half of the season, Yoo had a 5-3 record, 18 saves, one save, and a 1.82 ERA. In 39.2 innings pitched, he allowed 36 hits, 17 walks, and 48 strikeouts with a .238 batting average, 1.34 WHIP, and two blown saves. He ranks third in saves and has the lowest ERA of any closer in the league with 10 or more saves.

But it’s his multiple innings that stand out.

In 37 games, he threw multiple innings 10 times. In those 10 games, he had three four-out relief wins, three four-out saves, and four five-out saves.

Yoo recorded a five-out save in the eighth inning with the bases loaded in a 9-4 win over Changwon NC last month. He also pitched into a one-out jam in the eighth inning against Kiwoom on April 4 to preserve the win.

Multi-inning games put a lot of pressure on bullpen pitchers. Especially for the closer, a ‘four-out save’ or ‘five-out save’ is a huge pressure. Despite being new to the closer’s role, Yoo Young-chan made seven such saves in the first half alone.

This year, LG’s bullpen has been thin with Ham Duk-ju injured and Jeong Woo-young struggling, so Yoo often has to pitch the eighth inning. Yoo is being used early in must-win games. “Son Joo-young, who didn’t skip to the five-man rotation, and Yoo Young-chan, who did a good job in the closer’s role,” Yeom said of the first half.

Looking back on the first half, Yoo said, “I’m satisfied that I’m giving up fewer walks than last year. The only thing I’m disappointed about is that when I pitched in the eighth inning with runners on base, there were a lot of times when I let runners come home,” Yoo said.

“I’m looking forward to my first All-Star Game and I’m excited about it and hopefully the fans will enjoy it as well,” he said.

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