“It’s a decision to go to the postseason.”
The Lotte Giants have launched a “game changer” for fall baseball. It’s a four-day rest rotation for foreign pitchers.
Lotte won 1-0 in a home game against the SSG Landers on Sept. 6 at Sajik Stadium in Busan. Starting pitcher Aaron Wilkerson was the star of the show.
Wilkerson pitched seven innings, allowing just one hit and no walks.
When he reached 95 pitches, he handed the mound over to Koo Seung-min in the eighth inning, and Koo and Kim Won-joong pitched one inning each to complete the third team no-hitter in history.
Before the game against Gochuk Kiwoom on August 8, Lotte manager Larry Sutton said, “Wilkerson pitched very well. He had good feel for all his pitches. He had pitches on both ends of the plate. It was good to see him be aggressive. His pitches looked different in one, two, three laps.”
With 95 pitches, he could have gone a few more innings if he wanted to improve his record. “As a manager, you want to push him to the limit,” Sutton said, “but he pitched on Tuesday and came out on Sunday. It’s the first time I’ve thrown close to 100 pitches since I’ve been here. I was thinking about the player,” Sutton said. “We need a healthy Wilkerson to the end of the season.”
Wilkerson’s outing also had an agenda. “Wilkerson and Charlie Barnes will be in the rotation on four days’ rest,” Sutton said. “Wilkerson and Barnes are in good shape,” Sutton said. We made a decision to go to the postseason.” Sutton made his intentions clear.
Through seven days, Lotte is in seventh place with 43 wins and 49 losses. They are 4.5 games behind the fifth-place Doosan Bears (47 wins, 1 loss, 44 draws). They need to pick up the pace of their win total to make it to fall baseball 안전놀이터.
Barnes pitched against Kiwoom on the 8th and will naturally start against the KIA in Busan on the 13th. Wilkerson is scheduled to start on the 12th, but could be a bit earlier.
“We’re always looking at pitch counts for our starters, but with Barnes and Wilkerson, we’re going to be more careful,” Sutton said. “Obviously, we don’t want them to go down too fast, but we don’t want them to throw 120 pitches.”