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Run support or not, hard-luck pitcher still 'proud' of teammates

All Headlines 13:43 March 13, 2019

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, March 13 (Yonhap) -- In 2018, Tyler Wilson of the LG Twins was often rendered a hard-luck loser, with his Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) teammates unable to provide him with sufficient run support.

The American right-hander had an ordinary win-loss record of 9-4 in 26 starts, but these numbers don't reflect how well he pitched. He ranked second in the KBO in both ERA with 3.07 and walk and hits per innings pitched (WHIP) with 1.14. He also tied for second with 20 quality starts, an outing in which a starter gives up three or fewer earned runs in six or more innings.

In this Feb. 8, 2019, file photo provided by the LG Twins, Tyler Wilson throws a pitch during the team's spring training in Okinawa, Japan. (Yonhap)

His win-loss mark could have been better: Wilson lost or got a no-decision in seven starts in which he threw at least five innings and allowed two or fewer earned runs. The Twins ranked top three in both team batting average and hits, but in five of Wilson's starts, they mustered two runs or fewer.

Wilson said he never lets whatever his teammates do or don't do at the plate affect him.

"I always tell my teammates that my focus is to go out and compete. Every time I take the ball, I want to bring energy to the game," Wilson told Yonhap News Agency Wednesday before a preseason game against the Kiwoom Heroes at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul.

"I want to go out and let my teammates know that whether we score no runs or 10 runs, I'm going to be just as proud of them," he added. "I know it's hard to hit and to score runs. It's my job not to give up runs. I know they're giving me everything they can and that's all I ask for."

Wilson, now in his second KBO season, made his preseason debut Tuesday against the Heroes. In four innings of work, Wilson allowed three runs on four hits, including a solo home run by Park Byung-ho in the first.

Wilson threw 68 pitches, 50 for strikes. He mostly relied on his four-seam fastball and offered curveballs, changeups and two-seamers at the hitters, too.

Tyler Wilson of the LG Twins throws a pitch against the Kiwoom Heroes in a Korea Baseball Organization preseason game at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on March 12, 2019. (Yonhap)

Wilson understands preseason stats don't mean much in the grand scheme of things, and physically, he feels "really good" with where he is at the moment.

"I felt like I was throwing strikes with all my pitches and throwing them where I wanted to," he said. "Things aren't very crisp right now. That was on purpose. I took extra time off in the offseason to hopefully have a better second half. In preseason, my main focus is to figure out the timing and rhythm of my delivery. And if I can repeat that every time and stay healthy, that's a successful preseason."

Wilson said his comfort with his surroundings should help him get off to a quicker start this season compared to last season.

"I am really looking forward to the clean slate," Wilson said. "Last year, it took me a little while to get my legs under me, figure out expectations and learn the routines. I got out of the gate a little slow. This year, there's so much more comfort knowing the people around you and knowing the expectation of the league."


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