SSG Landers ace Kim Kwang-hyun (35)’s quest for 10 wins is valuable for the team.
Kim pitched six innings of four runs (one earned) against the Incheon NC Dinos on Thursday, surpassing the 2,000-inning mark in his KBO career (2004.1 innings) and earning his first career start. It was his first start in 53 days since Aug. 13 against the Incheon Samsung Lions. It was his eighth win of the season. With two more wins, it will be his fourth consecutive season with double-digit wins since 2018, when he was with the former SK Wyverns (he went overseas in 2020 and 2021).
It’s been a while since he’s won a start, but his pitching has been consistently good. Kim has four quality starts (QS – six or more innings pitched and three or fewer earned runs allowed) in five games, starting last month against the Incheon KT Wiz. However, the lack of run support prevented him from winning. After the fourth game, Kim Kwang-hyun said, “The batters gave me a lot of run support after a long time, and I played good defense from the beginning of the game, so the result was good. I’m grateful to my teammates.”
Now it’s all about the rest of the schedule. Kim Kwang-hyun has mostly started on five days’ rest this season, which will allow him to start against the Gwangju Kia Tigers on Tuesday. There’s also the possibility of an additional start during a series that hasn’t been organized yet, which would be important for the postseason (PS). If the PS starts in the third week of this month, he could make one more start.
SSG will have to fight to the end of the regular season for fall baseball. They still have games against the NC, Doosan Bears, and KIA. “I think (Kwang-hyun) can make two appearances in the remaining games,” SSG manager Kim Won-hyung said before the Incheon NC game on Friday. “First of all, if (the ranking) is determined on the day (Kim) makes his next appearance, we can plan additional appearances accordingly, but no matter what ranking we finish with, it’s important to go to the PS now.”안전놀이터
If Kwang-hyun reaches 10 wins this season, SSG will likely finish higher. While his streak of double-digit wins in consecutive seasons was cut short by elbow ligament reconstruction surgery in 2017, his 11th career single-season double-digit win is significant in itself.
“It means more to me that the team can go on a winning streak by (pitching well) at a crucial time in the standings battle rather than individual victories,” Kim said. “I will not give up until the end in the remaining games and do my best to help the team win more games.”