A dizzying five-day gamble.
Lotte manager Larry Sutton announced last week that he would use foreign pitchers Charlie Barnes (28) and Aaron Wilkerson (34) on a “five-day turn” before the first game of a three-game series against Kiwoom. In the KBO, unless it’s a Tuesday-Sunday pitching rotation, it’s common for pitchers to make a five-day turn after a four-day break, rather than a five-day turn after a four-day break.스포츠토토
However, foreign pitchers who have played in the United States are relatively used to pitching on five days’ rest. Moreover, Lotte is a win-now team this year. In the final season of Sutton’s contract, the team is in the hunt for a top-five finish. Both on the field and at the front office, there’s a sense that their fate will depend on how they perform this year.
Barnes’ cautious pitching/Los Angeles Giants
Usually, when pitchers are pulled, the “end” is not good. It’s still mid-August, unless you’re in a last-place battle with a week or two to go before the end of the pennant race. “It’s still not a game,” said a manager of another team in the top five, who is also in the race. While he emphasised the importance of winning each game over the standings, he also made it clear that it’s not the time to start pouring it on without looking back.
However, Sutton’s choice is hardly a gamble. It makes sense when you look at Lotte’s starting line-up. Currently, Lotte’s batting order of three to five has been significantly reduced in strength. Na Kyun-ahn has been out since 25 July against Doosan due to injury.
Wilkerson and Jung-hoon high-five/Lotte Giants
Park Se-woong’s May-June and July-August variance is too great. In May and June, he was brilliant with a 1.88 ERA in three wins and a 1.56 ERA in one loss. But in July, he lost three games with a 5.40 ERA, and in August, he lost two games with a 5.79 ERA. I’m worried about the Asian Games. In addition, Han Hyun-hee, who was brought in as a free agent, is also an unsettling addition.
So the strategy is to use Barnes and Wilkerson as much as possible to rack up wins. It’s not a dead-end move, but rather the last gamble Lotte can realistically take. And it’s off to a pretty good start.
After going 3-2 with a 3.33 ERA in five games in July, Barnes is 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA in three games in August. In the latter five games, he went 4-0 with a 1.15 ERA. In starts four days apart, on the 8th against Gochuk Kiwoom and the 13th against the Busan KIA, he combined for 12.2 innings, 8 hits, 12 strikeouts, 3 walks and 1 run (unearned).
Barnes’ reverse pitch. Raising the height of his glove has made him a completely different pitcher/Los Angeles Giants
In preparation for this season, Barnes lowered the height of his gloved arm. After a season last year, he said he felt like hitters were picking up on his pitching habits and responding to them. He lowered his arm height in spring training, which he attributes to his ups and downs in the first half of the season. As a result, he started pitching with his arm height back up to his chest in the set position. Both his balance and rhythm have improved. The quality of his pitches has improved.
The decision to send down Dan Straily in favour of Wilkerson has so far paid off. In four starts, he has two wins and a 1.88 ERA. In three quality starts, he has a .212 batting average and a 0.92 WHIP. He rarely throws strikes and has a good cutter. He doesn’t have a lot of four-pitch mix, including a slider and changeup.
This is encouraging for Lotte, as it means he has the ability to use a variety of pitches in different situations. Furthermore, he only walked four batters in 24 innings. It’s proof that he’s adapting well to the strike zone. He seems to be a pitcher with good fingertip feel. Kia manager Kim Jong-kook admitted that Wilkerson is a tricky pitcher.
Wilkerson has successfully settled into the KBO/Lotte Giants
Now, Lotte can only wait and see. Inevitably, a pitching schedule with one less day’s rest will leave him vulnerable to fatigue. Even if the parties are familiar with each other, Barnes is already pitching full-time, which is a concern. Wilkerson is no stranger to mental fatigue, as all of his surroundings are unfamiliar.
Nevertheless, Lotte have no choice but to pull this one out for the quarter-finals, and we’ll find out in October. They need Na Kyun-ahn to return to form and Park Se-woong and Han Hyun-hee to step up. Foreign pitchers alone are not enough to guarantee a top-five finish.
Barnes pitches powerfully. He should lead Lotte to the best-of-five series/Lotte Giants