SEOUL, Less than a week before the start of the South Korean baseball championship round, LG Twins manager Youm Kyoung-youb said Wednesday he is confident against any opponent who will stand in the way between his team and the trophy.
After posting the best regular season record in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), the Twins earned a bye to the Korean Series. The best-of-seven series starts Tuesday, more than three weeks after the Twins wrapped up their regular season on Oct. 15.
In this file photo from Oct. 15, 2023, LG Twins general manager Cha Myeong-seok, captain Oh Ji-hwan, manager Youm Kyoung-youb and CEO Kim In-seog (L to R) pose with the Korea Baseball Organization regular season champion’s trophy during a ceremony at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul.
The Twins, looking to win their first title since 1994, are awaiting the winner of the second round between the KT Wiz and the NC Dinos. The Dinos won the first two games of the best-of-five affair and can complete the sweep Thursday night.
The Twins may prefer to see that series go the distance, so that whoever reaches the Korean Series will be exhausted by the time they face the well-rested Twins. Either way, Youm said his team will be ready.
“Our preparation is done. No matter which team comes up, I think we will stand a great chance of beating them, as long as we play our brand of baseball,” Youm said before a practice at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. “We’ve played in a lot of scrimmages over the past couple of weeks and rust will not be an issue for us. We’ll try to execute things that we’ve worked on so far.”
The Twins played two intrasquad games in their minor league complex in Icheon, nearly 60 kilometers southeast of Seoul, in mid-October. They returned home to Jamsil on Sunday and played a scrimmage there.
They will play their final scrimmage at 2 p.m. Saturday, and will open the gates to fans for free, hoping to create a game-like atmosphere in the stands.
In this file photo from Oct. 15, 2023, LG Twins players celebrate their Korea Baseball Organization regular season crown during a ceremony at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul.
Youm said he has been closely following the postseason from afar. The Dinos are undefeated so far this postseason, after winning the wild card game and then pulling off a three-game sweep of the SSG Landers before taking the first two games against the Wiz.
“I think they’ve had some luck on their side, and it looks like their players are all fired up,” Youm said of the Dinos. “But if KT can push back in Game 3, then the series could go in a whole new direction.”
Youm also announced his four-man rotation for the Korean Series. Casey Kelly, a five-year veteran, will start Game 1, followed by Choi Won-tae. Im Chan-kyu and Kim Yun-sik will follow.
The Twins had the lowest team ERA in the regular season at 3.67. Their starters ranked fifth with a 3.92 ERA, but their bullpen led all teams with a 3.43 ERA.
“The bullpen is our biggest strength, and we’re not going to waste any time getting our relievers in action,” said Youm, who will take 14 pitchers to the Korean Series, one more than most postseason teams.
The bullpen will be under additional pressure after the Twins parted ways with one of their top regular season starters, Adam Plutko, last week.
Plutko was sidelined in late August with a hip injury, and when his rehab stalled with no sign of returning for the Korean Series, the Twins chose to cut bait and not waste a roster spot on the American pitcher.
Source: Yonhap News Agency