LG Twins left-handed pitcher Kim Yun-sik (23) exceeded expectations in Game 4 of the 2023 KBO Korean Series (KS), becoming the first LG pitcher to win a start in 21 years.
Behind Kim’s stellar performance, LG swept KT 15-4 to improve to 3-1 in the series and remain just one win away from their first KS title in 29 years.
Kim Yun-sik started Game 4 between the KT Wiz and KS at Katie Wiz Park in Suwon on Nov. 11 and finished the job with 5⅔ innings, 85 pitches, three hits, one walk, three strikeouts and one run.
Kim was named the Daily Most Valuable Player (MVP) of Game 4 of the KS series and took home a cash prize of 1 million won.
Kim Yun-sik has been LG’s “sore finger” this season.
Last year, Kim Yun-sik was touted as a future “left-handed ace” after a strong second half of the season. He started Game 3 of the playoffs against the Kiwoom Heroes and pitched 5⅔ innings of one-run ball.
However, he struggled in the World Baseball Classic (WBC), which preceded this season.
His regular season was up and down as well, finishing the year with a 6-4 record and a 4.22 ERA in 17 games.
LG chose Kim Yoon-sik as the starting pitcher for Game 4 against KS, but secretly prepared for the game to be a “bullpen day”.
This was in case Kim Yun-sik was unable to last the long innings.
Kim Yun-sik completely silenced those concerns on the mound, mowing down KT batters.
His fastball only reached 144 kilometers per hour, but his changeup, curveball, and slider showed off his full range of pitches.
KT’s batters often swung at pitches that were clearly visible, only to have their timing fall short.
Kim Yun-sik retired nine batters in three innings before giving up a walk to the leadoff batter in the fourth.
The KT bats, which had pounded out 15 hits in Game 3 the day before, disappeared like a mirage in front of Kim’s pitching.
In the fourth inning, Kim Yun-sik allowed a walk and a stolen base to put two runners on base, but he got Kim Sang-soo to ground into an infield single, Hwang Jae-gyun to fly out, and Park Byung-ho to strike out to end the inning.
In the fifth inning, Kim gave up his first hit of the game to Moon Sang-chul one out later.
Once again, Kim Yun-sik retired Jung Jun-young and Oh Yoon-seok on consecutive infield grounders.
In the sixth inning, Kim Yun-sik stayed on the mound and got two outs before giving up a double to Kim Sang-soo and an RBI single to Hwang Jae-gyun for a 5-1 lead.
Even though the sixth inning was not completed, the LG fans welcomed Yunsik to the dugout with a huge cheer.
The impact of Kim’s performance didn’t end there.
In Games 2 and 3, when the starting pitchers went down early, LG won two straight games, but the bullpen was severely depleted.
The LG bullpen, which was solid in Game 2, faltered in Game 3.
With Kim Yoon-sik on the mound for the sixth inning, the bullpen got a valuable break.
The win was his first career start for LG, which took the series three games to one.
Previously, Ham Deok-ju picked up the win in Game 2 and Ko Woo-seok in Game 3.
The last start by an LG pitcher was by Ravelo Manzanio (7 innings, 1 hit, 1 run) in Game 2 between the Samsung Lions and KS on Nov. 4, 2002, making it 7,677 days since an LG pitcher won a Korean Series start.
“I’m happy to have played a role in the win,” Kim said at the postgame press conference, “and I got off to a good start when senior Kim Hyun-soo hit a two-run home run in the first inning.
As for the secret to being a postseason powerhouse this year after a strong fall baseball season last year, Kim said, “I was less nervous because I’ve been in the postseason for four years in a row since I was a rookie. Because I did well last year, I felt comfortable in this series,” he explained.
Thanks to Kim Yun-sik, LG’s bullpen pitchers were able to get a much-needed break and recharge their batteries.
“My goal since I started pitching was to not give up any runs, no matter how many innings. I worked hard on image training.”
“I was 3 years old in 2002,” he said, referring to his 21-year streak of winning LG pitching starts. I only know that it’s been a long time,” he laughed.
Having done his job perfectly as the starting pitcher in Game 4, Kim Yun-sik is now waiting for his teammates to clinch the series.
“I’m going to be the cheerleader now. I will fight hard,” he said. 사설토토