“I convinced him in spring training.”
The LG Twins’ Chan-kyu Lim has transformed into a different pitcher. The right-hander pitched seven innings of four-hit ball, striking out five and walking none against the KIA Tigers in Gwangju on April 28. It was a complete game shutout against Shawn Anderson, who completely dominated the KIA lineup and went seven innings on his own.
It’s an unbelievable performance for a bi-weekly start. Five days earlier, on the 23rd, Lim pitched six innings of one-run ball against the Incheon SSG Landers to earn the win. That’s two starts in one week.
The victory was even more valuable because it was his own. Last year, Lim went 6-11 with a 5.04 ERA, and he had his share of struggles. There were many starts where he didn’t make it past the fifth inning, and when he was eligible for free agency after the season, he declined. He chose to wait it out.
And it paid off. After being pushed out of the starting rotation and into the bullpen earlier this season, Lim has been a completely different pitcher since his return. In particular, he has a 1.13 ERA in 24 innings pitched since the start of May, with four wins in four starts.
Unsurprisingly, this has had a very positive impact on the team. LG has gained the momentum to take the lead in the standings with Lim’s resurgence. In addition to the foreign “one-two punch,” they now have a solid domestic starter. Out of the seven games Im has started this season, LG’s team record is an overwhelmingly positive 5-2. Last week’s 4-2 victory in the six-game series against SSG-KIA was due in large part to Im’s “ace” performance in two appearances.
This is the pace of a monthly MVP. Coach Yeom Kyung-yeop declared, “He is the third starter of our team right now.” The content of his pitches is also faultless.
Yeom said that the two things that have changed the most are “giving up his obsession with fastballs” and “utilizing his curveball. “Before this year’s camp, I told him, ‘You’ve been ruined by your fastball. You need to get rid of it. I convinced him during the camp that he can be a good pitcher with a variety of pitches,” Yoon explained.
Utilizing his curveball is also paying off. Lim used less of his slider and more of his curveball and changeup than last year. “I’ve been using a lot of curveballs and changeups, and it’s working. If you try to compete with only fastballs and changeups, it’s hard. He’s a pitcher who lives when he has a curveball. 안전놀이터 I’ve been actively using my curveball from the first inning, and it’s working.”
With Lee Min-ho out with an injury, LG was not without concerns about its domestic starting pitching staff, but if Im Chan-kyu continues to pitch like this, there is no need to worry. With Im’s performance, LG’s lead in the standings has taken on wings.