“The moment you look at the numbers, your mentality breaks down.”
These words from LG Twins manager Yoon Kyung-yeop helped Im Chan-kyu (30-LG) reach 11 wins for the first time in five years.
Im started the second game of a doubleheader against the SSG Landers at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on April 17 and pitched five innings of six-hit ball with one walk, four strikeouts, and two earned runs to help his team win 9-5. Individually, she earned her 11th win of the season. This ties his previous career high set in 2018.안전놀이터
Im’s pitching was shaky on the day. He faced two bases-loaded situations in the first and third innings. He threw 39 pitches in the first inning alone, but he managed to get out of the jam. He gave up only one run on one hit and two walks in the two bases-loaded situations.
“When I had a bad start to the game, the coach told me to throw the same pitches, and when I came back after the third inning (when I got out of the jam), the coach said, ‘You’re trying to be too good because you can see the numbers (of the team’s wins, losses, and record),'” Lim said.
“He said, ‘It’s okay to get a home run, it’s okay to get a hit. Don’t worry about anything else, just think about throwing it up the middle.’ (So) strangely enough, it started to work. I think that’s why I pitched well in the fourth and fifth innings.”
As manager Yoon Kyung-yeop said, it’s a season where the “numbers” will be on Im’s mind. The right-hander, who opted for free agency after the 2022 season, has been the team’s No. 2 starter this year with an 11-3 record and a 3.69 ERA. His ERA is also the best since his debut in 2011.
Yoon emphasized that he shouldn’t be concerned about his record. Even before the game on Sunday, he pointed out the relationship between records and mentality. Regarding LG second baseman Shin Min-jae, who is trying to hit .302 for the first time in his career (as of the 18th), he said, “If I think about it, I won’t hit it. “If you think, ‘I’m playing my baseball by batting 0.280,’ you’re going to hit a triple,” he advised. “The moment you look at the number, your mentality breaks down. That’s baseball. People who stick to their routine play their baseball, and people who look at numbers never have (great) careers.”
LG, which until last year was always at the threshold of victory, has been a dominant team this season. In addition to Lim Chan-kyu and Shin Min-jae, they have Hong Chang-ki (batting .340 with a .452 on-base percentage) and Moon Sung-joo (batting .298), who are challenging for the batting and RBI titles. The pitching staff has also seen the emergence of a young pitching trio of Baek Seung-hyun, Yoo Young-chan, and Park Myung-geun, as well as the surprise arrival of Lee Jung-yong, who moved to the starting rotation. They are on pace for career highs this year.
Coach Yoon Kyung-yup has consistently told them to “not look at the numbers”. As a result, the LG squad has the best “number” in the league as it enters mid-September: No. 1.