The Korean Series is a special, dream game for any LG player. For LG pitcher Lee Jung-yong, it’s even more special. After the Korean Series, he will enlist in the army in December.
Lee has had a dramatic year.
After being drafted in the first round in 2019, Lee spent his first year rehabbing. He didn’t even pitch a game for the second team. He made his first-team debut in 2020 and has been a bullpen pitcher ever since. In 2021, he had 15 holds and in 2022, he had 22 holds, making him a bullpen stalwart.
In 37 games this season, he had a 7-2 record, one win, one loss, three saves, and a 4.15 ERA. Lee made the switch from the bullpen to the starting rotation in late June and went 4-2 with a 4.01 ERA in 13 appearances as a starter. Yeom’s midseason starting rotation gamble paid off.
Ahead of the short-lived Korean Series, Lee was moved back to the bullpen. Kelly, Choi Won-tae, Lim Chan-kyu, and Kim Yun-sik were the 1-4 starters. It’s not because Lee can’t start, but because pitching in the bullpen is a better way to utilize the pitching staff.
In the final game of the Blue-White Game at Jamsil Stadium on April 4, the LG players made a final check. Lee Jung-yong came on in the fifth inning to face the main players and pitched a clean one-hit shutout.
He got the first batter, Oh Ji-hwan, to fly out to left field, and Moon Bo-kyung followed with a grounder to first base. Park Dong-won singled to right. He allowed Choi Seung-min to steal second, but struck out Moon Sung-joo at second base to end the inning.
After the game, Lee said, “It doesn’t matter if I’m starting or in the bullpen. Winning comes first,” he said, adding, “I feel a little bad because I’m about to enlist in the military.” I’m only thinking about winning the championship and going to the army. The following is a one-on-one interview.
-How did it feel to come out and throw in the middle of a game for the first time in a while?
I just did it, so it wasn’t that different because I’m used to it. I’m just trying to do a good job on the mound. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the bullpen or starting.
-If you’re starting and then you’re pitching in the bullpen, you can throw short or you can throw long relief. I don’t think it’s going to be confusing. You have a different routine in the bullpen.
They don’t. I didn’t start from the beginning, I started in the middle of the season, so I don’t think it was that big of a change. I just do the same thing I did when I was in the bullpen, and I do the same thing when I start.
There’s a possibility that I’ll be pitching 1-2 in a must-win game and then 1+1 in a game 4.
I don’t know, I don’t know what baseball is going to do. I don’t really put a lot of meaning into (the roles), I just want to go out there and do a good job on the mound. I’m just trying to do my best.
-Were you prepared for the possibility of going to the bullpen in the Korean Series?
To a certain extent. Even when I was just thinking about myself, I was thinking to myself that I’ve been in the bullpen before, so that might be an advantage. The coach saw it that way, so I don’t think anything really changed.
-What would you rather do, pitch one long game as a starter or go three or four games out of the bullpen?
I don’t think it’s a matter of whether you want to go out there and pitch a lot, because you want to go out there as a player.
-Do I think it’s more beneficial for the team if I go to the bullpen.
I didn’t really think about that, I was just like, I’m fine in the bullpen, I’m fine starting. I don’t really think about it, I’m fine in the bullpen, I’m fine starting. In a way, I feel a little bad because it’s my last season before the military, but it’s also not too far away. These days.
-How close are you to enlisting?
One month left. I think I have a little over a month left, so I think that’s why I’m more motivated to do well. Personally, I want the team to do well first, so I’m trying to focus on that.
-I hope I get a Rolex watch and go to the army. In the semifinals, bullpener Kim Young-gyu was named series MVP. It’s not out of the question.
It’s not something I can do because I want to bet on it, I think it’s already decided. I think if all the players work hard, someone will take it, and I think we should think about winning first, not Rolex.
-You started throwing forkballs during the selection process, and now you’re a middle reliever throwing forkballs. It must be a little different.
I think it might be harder because it’s one more thing for the hitters, but I think it’s more about location and throwing the ball the way you want. I don’t think having a forkball makes you stronger, but I think you have to pay more attention to your location even if you’re throwing what you’ve always had.
-Since we had a disappointing postseason last year, I think we’ll want to make up for it. Since it’s the Korean Series, there will be pressure.
It’s not a pressure, it’s just that last year was fall baseball where I had a bit of an impact, so I want to make the opposite impact this year. It’s not a burden.
-Have you thought about what you’re going to do in the Korean series?
I don’t know, I’m not the kind of person who thinks in those details (laughs).
-What impressions you got from watching the playoffs.
I think there’s definitely a physicality aspect to it, and I think both teams are struggling. In fall baseball, we always talk about anybody, but you have to have a crazy person. I hope it comes from my team, that’s all I can say. 아톰카지노
-How are you feeling right now in preparation?
I feel strong, for sure. I feel like I’m throwing what I want and it’s going well. But now that it’s a series, I think they’re all nervous, and I can’t help but feel the same way.
-There were a lot of fans here today, even though it was a blue-and-white game, and it felt different.
I’m grateful that the fans helped me get used to the atmosphere a little bit. It’s nice to have a chance like this, to have some atmosphere before the match.
-Did you definitely feel recharged by the break?
I think some pitchers have that feeling. I don’t think my body is tired, so I think I’ll be able to throw good pitches when I do.