Wyverns riding winning wave

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Wyverns riding winning wave


Kim Sung-geun

The SK Wyverns are starting to turn things around early in the 2010 KBO season - just as manager Kim Sung-geun had predicted.

On April 18, SK defeated Samsung at home 12-1 for their fifth consecutive win. With the victory, SK moved up to capture the top spot in league standings for the first time this season.

It’s an abrupt turnaround from earlier this month, when SK lost three straight and nearly fell to a .500 winning percentage. The team has taken the league by storm since then, winning nine and losing just one in their past 10 games.

Kim certainly isn’t surprised, as he had predicted such a pattern prior to the start of the season. To some fans, Kim’s ability to analyze and read situations is more surprising than anything else.

“SK will struggle early on in the season. Some of our key players have yet to recover fully from their injuries,” Kim said during preseason. “SK will be productive in mid-April when Kim Kwang-hyun, Park Kyung-wan and Jung Dae-hyun return from injuries.”


SK’s turnaround started on April 8, the day the team’s ace pitcher, Kim Kwang-hyun, returned to the lineup against the Kia Tigers. Kim earned a win against the Tigers as a relief pitcher, and in the process SK was able to shake off a three-game losing skid. The team went on to win four straight before losing a game against the Hanhwa Eagles on April 13 but has since won five consecutive games.

Starting pitchers Song Eun-beom and Gary Glover, who had been less than impressive early on in the season, seem to have found their form with less pressure.

Despite the strong performance as of late, manager Kim still has some concerns. “This season, our competitors like Doosan, Samsung and Kia are on a good pace. In order for us to compete for the title this season, we need to maintain a winning record in the month of April,” Kim said.

As of yesterday, SK boasts a record of 13 wins and five losses for a winning percentage of .722. With 10 games remaining in the month, SK is in good shape to finish April with a winning record. What is all the more impressive about SK’s performance this month is that Jung Dae-hyun and Kim Won-hyung, who are considered the core of SK’s bullpen, have yet to return from their injuries.

Kim Won-hyung is nearly ready for action after a stint in the team’s bullpen. He is expected to be fully prepped in early May.

Jung, who is still recovering from a knee injury, is projected to return to the starting rotation in mid-May. When Kim Won-hyung and Jung, who are considered the core of SK’s bullpen, return to the lineup, the Wyverns will be fully loaded for a run toward a Korean Series title.

By Kim Dong-hwan [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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