Lotte will have a hole in its starting rotation during the Hangzhou Asian Games, which begin on Nov. 23.
With homegrown starters Park Se-woong and Na Kyun-ahn, the mainstays of the starting rotation, on the final roster for the Asian Games, Lotte will need two starting pitchers for the duration.
One spot has been filled. Shim Jae-min, who has been used as a substitute starter recently, has given the team a glimmer of hope with five innings of one-run ball for the second straight game. He also pitched five innings of one-run ball against KIA on March 13, leading the Kangwoo to a cold victory. “Fortunately, we need an alternate starter now, and I think it will help the team a lot,” said acting manager Lee Jong-woon. “When the two starters are out, someone has to step up, and Shim Jae-min is pitching like that, which is a strength for us.”
For the other spot, Lee Jong-woon is considering a number of options.
One of the options is Han Hyun-hee. Han signed with Lotte as a free agent last winter and was a part of the starting rotation at the beginning of the season.
However, the results were not promising. Through May, he seemed to be doing his job, going 3-4 with a 4.61 ERA in eight starts. However, in June, after a five-inning, two-run start against KIA on the 4th, he struggled, giving up five runs (three earned) in 4.1 innings against Samsung on the 10th and five runs in 4.1 innings against SSG on the 16th.
Eventually, he was moved to the bullpen and has been working as the back of the mound. However, he hasn’t been very reliable. In the second half of the season, he went 1-2 with a 5.73 ERA in 12 games, similar to his first half.
He could be headed to the second team. Lee mentioned Lee In-bok and Kim Do-kyu.
Lee In-bok seemed to establish himself as a five-starter last year. He went 9-9 with a 4.19 ERA in 26 games in 2022. He showed promise as he spent the season in the starting rotation for the first time since his debut.
However, he underwent season-ending elbow labrum surgery and was not named to the opening day roster. He made a late comeback on June 22 against KT, but was unable to fulfill his role. His first-team record this year was 1-3 with a 5.92 ERA in eight games.
Kim Do-gyu is a right-handed pitcher who has been a staple of the team in recent years.
However, he is primarily a bullpen pitcher, which means he is not able to work long innings.
Lotte recently lost Kim Sang-soo to a torn adductor muscle and Koo Seung-min, who pitched 58.1 innings in 63 games, to the disabled list. If the starting pitching isn’t up to par, the burden on the bullpen becomes even greater.메이저놀이터
It’s a lot to ask of Lotte, who have been keeping their hopes alive for fall baseball with every game.
For now, Lee plans to utilize the pitchers in the first team as much as possible. “It can be flexible depending on their physical condition,” he said, “It’s a chance for players who haven’t had a chance, and it’s up to them to throw good pitches and make good use of them.”