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New-look bullpen carrying surging ball club

All Headlines 11:11 May 11, 2018

SEOUL, May 11 (Yonhap) -- After starting the 2018 Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) season with a seven-game losing streak, the Lotte Giants are back to playing at a more respectable level thanks to their new-look bullpen.

Since April 20, the Giants have gone 11-6, the best record in the 10-team league in that span. They also have the best team ERA since April 20 with 3.90 and haven't lost back-to-back games during that stretch while winning five consecutive three-game series.

And workhorses in the bullpen have stepped up to bring the Giants out of the cellar.

In this file photo from May 8, 2018, Oh Hyoun-taek of the Lotte Giants throws a pitch against the LG Twins in a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

In the past 17 games, Oh Hyoun-taek and Jin Myung-ho have done an admirable job setting up for closer Son Seung-lak. Jin has a 1.04 ERA in those games, followed by Son with 1.08 and Oh with 1.80.

And over those 17 games, the Giants have gone 8-0 when they led through seven innings.

For the season, Jin has a 1.33 ERA in 20 appearances, with a 4-1 record and three holds. He has also fanned 26 batters in 20 1/3 innings.

Oh has bounced back nicely from an elbow surgery last year, with a 2.45 ERA in 16 appearances this season. He has allowed just one walk while striking out 21 batters in 18 1/3 innings.

Son has also settled down after a rough start. He was rocked for five earned runs in 1/3 of an inning on March 31, his second appearance, but then reeled off 11 2/3 scoreless innings after that.

As for his two new setup men, Jin only pitched in four games for the Giants last season, and Oh didn't even play in the KBO while recovering from his surgery. But they have successfully replaced two relievers who were instrumental in the Giants' second-half surge. Park Jin-hyung and Cho Jung-hoon are both sidelined with injuries, and it may be a while before they can rejoin the Giants.

But they won't have to try to rush back, knowing the bullpen is in good hands for now.

In this file photo from April 11, 2018, Jin Myung-ho of the Lotte Giants throws a pitch against the Nexen Heroes in a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Munsu Baseball Stadium in Ulsan, 410 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)


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