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After season win, Kim wants the Triple Crown

But Wyverns manager wants him to take it easy

Sept 25,2008
SK Wyverns?Kim Kwang-hyun says he wants to win the Triple Crown ?as the league leader in wins, earned run average, and strikeouts. [NEWSIS
After season win, Kim wants the Triple Crown
Kim Kwang-hyun, the 20-year-old left-handed starter on the SK Wyverns, has already helped his team win the regular season crown.

Now he has set his sights on another, more individual, achievement-winning the pitching Triple Crown.

It refers to leading the league in three major pitching categories: wins, earned run average and strikeouts. As of Wednesday, Kim was first in wins with 15, second in ERA at 2.55 and second in strikeouts with 130. He trails Kia Tigers’ Yoon Seok-min (2.44) in ERA and is nine behind the Hanwha Eagles’ ace Ryu Hyun-jin in strikeouts.

Incidentally, Ryu is the last pitcher to win the three categories, having done so in 2006 as a rookie. The accomplishment netted Ryu both the MVP and the Rookie of the Year honors.

Kim is well within reach of the two pitchers in the two categories. But the question is, will he get the chance?

The Wyverns have already clinched the playoff berth. And with 10 games left after last night’s showdown against the LG Twins, there seems to be little reason for Manager Kim Sung-keun to work his prized pupil any more than necessary.

“I am not going to push him too much the rest of the season,” Kim said Sunday, after the Wyverns won the regular season title and Kim was the winning pitcher. “There’s really no need for it.”

Manager Kim has reasons to be concerned. The young pitcher, who is listed at 187 centimeters (6-foot-2) and generously at 83 kilograms (182 pounds), has a wiry build and a violent delivery, often causes for a premature breakdown for pitchers. After throwing only 77 innings last year as a rookie, Kim has already pitched 148 this season. And that doesn’t account for the work he put in for Korea at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

But Kim the pitcher is clear: he wants that Triple Crown.

“I think I can do it if I can take care of my ERA,” Kim said. “Now that our team has qualified for the postseason, I would like to shift my focus to individual titles.”

Kim is slated to start either tomorrow against the LG Twins or on Saturday against the Heroes. He has a blister on his pitching hand but the team said it shouldn’t keep him out of the rotation.

In two starts against the Twins this season, Kim has one win and gave up three runs. Kim has two wins against the Heroes in 2008 and allowed only four runs in 15 2/3 innings.

If he does get a second start, Kim will likely face the Tigers on Oct. 3. He has beaten them four times in four starts, and conceded only two runs in 27 innings while striking out 22.

Only two pitchers in Korea have won the Triple Crown. Sun Dong-yol, the current Samsung Lions manager, did it four times, in 1986 and then from 1989 to 1991. Ryu did it two years ago.

The Triple Crown is a more common occurrence in Major League Baseball, where it has been won 21 times in National League and 15 times in American League.


By Yoo Jee-ho Staff Reporter [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]



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