After struggling last year, going 6-11 with a 5.04 ERA in 23 games, LG’s Chan-kyu Lim opted out of his free agency last winter, but he finally cleared his head and rebounded this season.
As of Dec. 12, Im is 13-3 with a 3.50 ERA in 29 games, ranking first in wins, fifth in ERA, and first in winning percentage among Korean starting pitchers. It’s a remarkable feat for a pitcher who started the season in long relief to lead all Korean pitchers in wins. He’s having a career-high season, and 12 years after his debut, he’s the best pitcher in Korea.
However, this record is in danger of disappearing. To be more precise, it”s an unofficial record that might not make the list. The reason: regulation innings.
Im, who was a late addition to the starting rotation after the start of the season, has thrown 139 innings so far. He’s five innings shy of the required 144 innings, so even though the team has clinched first place, he’ll still pitch in one of the three remaining games. If he pitches at least five innings in one of the remaining games, he’ll be able to complete this incredible feat.
But those five innings could be tough. This season, Lim has started 25 of 29 games and pitched 131 innings. That’s an average of 5.2 innings per start.
He has two games remaining, one against NC at Changwon NC Park and the other against Doosan at Jamsil Stadium. This season, Lim has been weak against NC and Doosan. In particular, his ERA against NC is a whopping 8.25. In three starts, he has no wins and one loss. Not only that, but he only pitched seven innings in two games at Changwon NC Park. He didn’t last an average of five innings. The same goes for Doosan. In two appearances, he has no wins and a 4.32 ERA in 8.1 innings.
The record shows that the next five innings are not going to be easy. While the team hasn’t announced which team he’ll be pitching for, Lim’s final start will be significant. After signing as a free agent last winter, his fate is on the line this season as he prepares to graduate as a senior.
LG’s players are gearing up for the Korean Series after clinching their first regular season title in 29 years, but it’s a different story for free agent Chan-kyu Lim. In some ways, this could be the most important game of his baseball career. 레고토토
If Im completes a career-high number of innings pitched this season, finishing first in wins and first in winning percentage among Korean pitchers, his value in free agency this winter will be completely different. A 30-year-old starting pitcher is a rare commodity in free agency. It will be interesting to see if Lim can become a homegrown ace.