안전놀이터 LG pitcher Kim Jin-sung is set to make the most appearances of his career at the age of 38.
A late free agent signing who bounced back from the pain of being released last year, Kim has been performing even better this season.
Kim played back-to-back games on the 18th and 19th against SSG last weekend. After LG scored four runs on three home runs in the top of the 12th inning to take an 8-4 lead, he came on in the bottom of the 12th and pitched one inning of scoreless relief to end the game.
On the 19th, after LG scored five runs in the top of the eighth to take a 10-2 lead, he took the mound in the bottom of the eighth and pitched one scoreless inning.
Until the 21st, Kim Jin-sung was tied for the most appearances among league pitchers this season. On the 22nd, LG’s game against Lotte was rained out, and KT’s Park Young-hyun pitched against KIA to take sole possession of first place with 56 games. Kim Jin-sung is tied for second with 55 games, along with teammates Ham Deok-ju and Lotte’s Kim Sang-soo.
At this rate, Kim could play as many as 76 games this season. His previous high was 69 games in the NC. Last year, he appeared in 67 games in an LG uniform.
This season, Jin-sung Kim has been doing the dirty work in the bullpen, where he is a must-win reliever. With a fastball and a powerful forkball, Jin-sung Kim is used to pitching to lefties. This is because he performs better against lefties than righties.
Yoo Young-chan, Baek Seung-hyun, and Park Myung-geun, who are new to the pitching staff this year, have less experience, so Kim is often called upon to pitch in high-pressure situations. He has pitched three games a week for the last three weeks in a row.
In June, he had a 0.84 ERA in 13 games (10.2 innings), and in July, he had a 0 ERA in eight games (7.1 innings). In August, he had a sub-3 ERA in 10 games (8.1 innings). Ok eti has allowed one two-run home run.
Despite pitching more innings than last year, his performance is better than last year. Kim Jin-sung has a season record of 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 12 appearances. His ERA is the third lowest in the LG bullpen behind Baek Seung-hyun (1.33 ERA) and Ham Deok-ju (1.50 ERA).
LG pitcher Kim Jin-sung at the All-Star Game / OSEN DB
Kim Jin-sung joined SK in 2005 and was released without making his first-team debut. In 2011, he heard about the formation of the ninth-ranked NC and tried out for the team.
When NC joined the first team in 2013, Kim made his first team debut at the age of 28. He spent his best years with NC from 2014-2017. In 2014, he made 25 saves as a finisher, and from 2015 onwards, he recorded double-digit holds for three consecutive years as a set-up man.
In NC’s inaugural championship in 2020, he was the setup man for all six games of the Korean Series. However, he struggled in 2021 with a sub-7 ERA and was released as the NC revamped its bullpen with younger arms.
Jin-sung looked up the contacts of nine clubs and called them directly to ask for a tryout. LG general manager Cha Myung-seok said, “We don’t need a tryout,” and signed him.
In his fresh start at LG, Kim appeared in 67 games (58 innings) last year, posting a 6-3 record with 12 saves and a 3.10 ERA. He also contributed to the bullpen.
Eligible for free agency after the season, Kim signed a two-year, 700 million won ($300 million signing bonus and $200 million annual salary) contract with LG last December. It was his first free agency in 10 years, since he took the mound for the first team in 2013.