LG Twins manager Yoon Kyung-yeop has backed starting pitcher Casey Kelly, who has seen his role diminish this season.
“Even if (Kelly’s performance deteriorates), he’ll go all the way this season,” Yeom told reporters at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Wednesday, dismissing the possibility of replacing the foreign pitcher.
Kelly, a fifth-year LG player, has been a consistent ace from 2019 to last year, going 58-31 with a 2.89 ERA in 114 games.
However, he has struggled this season.
After going 1-2 with a 5.66 ERA in April, he seemed to rebound in May (4-1 with a 2.73 ERA).
However, he slumped to 1-1 with a 4.73 ERA in June, and then collapsed with five runs in 5⅔ innings against the KT Wiz on June 6.
“His velocity isn’t a problem, but he’s making a lot of mistakes,” Yoon said, “and his batting average is much higher than last year because he’s making a lot of mistakes after two strikes.”
In fact, after facing 144 hits in 27 games last year, Kelly has given up 110 hits in just 17 games this season. His BABIP has skyrocketed from .232 last year to .279 this year.
Yeom also revealed his plans for key bullpen arm Lee Jung-yong’s starting class.
Lee made his first appearance with the first team on June 25 against the Lotte Giants 메이저사이트.
After a two-inning, one-run debut, Lee continued his strong start with three scoreless innings against the KIA Tigers on July 2, before collapsing with six runs (five earned) in three innings against Lotte on July 9.
Yeom sees the key to his success as proficiency with his changeup and pitch count.
“You can’t become a starter just by throwing one inning,” he said. “Whether he succeeds or fails as a starter depends on whether his curveball and forkball get better.”
“He also needs to increase his pitch count,” he said, adding, “I think he’ll go to 80 pitches (in one game) during the All-Star break and then start throwing 90 pitches in the second half.”