Sudden bullpen move puts Kim Kwang-hyun in tough spot

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Sudden bullpen move puts Kim Kwang-hyun in tough spot

Kim Kwang-hyun [USA TODAY/YONHAP]

Kim Kwang-hyun [USA TODAY/YONHAP]

 
Kim Kwang-hyun was moved to the bullpen on Tuesday with Jake Woodford set to take over his spot in the St. Louis Cardinals starting rotation.
 
The Korean southpaw appeared from the bullpen in the eighth against the Los Angeles Dodgers when the Cardinals were trailing 5-2 and struck out Max Muncy to end the inning. But he gave up a two-run homer to Justin Turner in the ninth and the Dodgers extended their lead to 7-2.
 
“I was angry when I took to the mound,” Kim told MK Sports on Thursday. “The results could not have been good.”
 
Kim has played as a starter for nearly his entire MLB career. After joining the Cardinals last year, Kim spent a single game in the bullpen before getting the nod to start as the team struggled with Covid-19 cases.
 
Kim remained a starter for the rest of the 2020 season and most of this season, becoming one of the most reliable pitchers in the Cardinals' rotation in June and July.
 
The Korean southpaw missed a large part of August due to an injury and returned in the bullpen on Aug. 24. He has had two starts since then, but given up five runs in a total of five and two thirds innings pitched, raising questions about Kim's reliability as the season dies down. Kim has a season ERA of 3.53, but hasn't picked up a win since July 22.
 
Expectations grew that Kim could be dropped out of the batting order, but the last-minute nature of the move still left Kim surprised.
 
“I read about it in the articles and had to expect it to some extent,” said Kim. “At 3 p.m. on Tuesday, we took a group photo but 10 minutes before I was told ‘Nothing has been decided yet, but there is a shortage in the bullpen’ and that I should wait in the bullpen."
 
"It’s my fault that I played badly,” said Kim. “Still it doesn’t seem right to go straight to the bullpen after one bad match, but I don’t want to pick a fight with anyone.”

BY YUN SO-HYANG [yun.sohyang@joongang.co.kr]
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