“He’s not the same Kim Kwang-hyun.”

SSG Landers head coach Kim Won-hyung pointed out the recent struggles of left-handed ace Kim Kwang-hyun, 34, before the team’s game against the Jamsil Doosan Bears on Saturday. Kim took the loss in his last start against Jamsil Doosan on May 25, allowing seven runs (six earned) on nine hits with one walk and one strikeout in four innings. In his previous start, he allowed five runs in 6⅔ innings against the LG Twins in Incheon on April 19, and took the loss.

“He’s not the same Kim Kwang-hyun,” Kim said. “Simply put, he used to be a powerful pitcher, overpowering with his fastball and slider. Now he’s changed it up a bit. Hitters need to see some age when they feel it. I’m making up for it with other things, and yesterday (Aug. 25), the ball was high and it went out,” he reflected.

Kim tried to combat the hitters with a mix of pitches, including his slider (21), changeup (18) and curve (6), but it wasn’t easy. In particular, his slider, which is his main weapon, was getting hit hard. His fastball topped out at 149 kilometers and averaged 146 kilometers.

After hanging on for dear life, Kwang-hyun gave up five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, trailing 0-2. He gave up a leadoff double to Rojas to left-center and a single to Yang Ji Hyun to put runners on first and third with no outs. Yang Seok-hwan singled to left to make it 0-3, and the next batter, Kang Seung-ho, doubled to left-center to make it 0-4. With runners on second and third, Heo gave up a two-run double to right-center to make it 0-6.

Kim Kwang-hyun continued to struggle on the mound. With runners on first and second, he allowed Heo Kyung-min to steal third and gave up a sacrifice fly to center field to make it 0-7.

With the SSG bats locked down against Doosan starter Kwak Bin (8 scoreless innings), there was no way to turn the tide as even Kim Kwang-hyun collapsed. SSG ended up losing the game 1-10.

Kim still believes that Kwang-hyun’s slump is temporary. His first three games in August were fine. In all three games, he pitched more than six innings and held his opponents to one run or less, but he was unable to get any offense to support him. He may not be the Kim Kwang-hyun of old, but he is Kim Kwang-hyun, and there is faith that he can bounce back from his slump.안전놀이터

“He pitched well two games ago,” Kim said. I’m looking at every game as a standard that he has to be perfect because he’s Kwang-hyun, so my expectations might be lowered, but (Kim) is also human. I think the next game will be better,” he emphasized.

As of the 26th, SSG is in third place with 57 wins, 47 losses and one draw. They are 1.5 games behind the second-place KT Wiz (60 W, 47 L, 2 T) and eight games behind the first-place LG Twins (65 W, 39 L, 2 T). While they are far from the top of the standings, the team needs to focus on closing the gap to the second-place team to gain a favorable position for the postseason.

“Kim Kwang-hyun has to do it. McCarty, Elias, basically those three guys have to be the centerpiece. We have 39 games left, so we need to pick up wins here. If those guys stabilize, even if the batting slumps, we can come back,” Kim said, adding that he hopes Kwang-hyun and the rest of the starting lineup can step up for the rest of the season.

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