Go Woo-seok’s ‘homework’ for leading LG
Three of the last six losses were due to ‘failure to finish’
League’s strongest bullpen, most losses ‘a stigma’
Difficulties with pitches and no changeup
‘Maximum worry’ at a time when he needs to solidify the lead
LG closing pitcher Ko Woo-seok is interviewed after the team’s game against KT at Katie Wise Park in Suwon on Friday. Yonhap
Baseball’s top team, LG, had won four of its last 10 games before losing to KT on Sept. 6. Three of the six losses came from closer Ko Woo-seok, 25.
On Aug. 26 against the Changwon NC, he pitched the bottom of the ninth inning with a 5-3 lead before giving up a run on three consecutive hits and then a walk-off home run to the third baseman, giving up a total of four runs and a 5-7 loss. Against Hanwha in Jamsil on the 2nd, he came on in the top of the ninth inning as LG tied the game with three runs in the bottom of the eighth after falling behind 0-3. However, after being hit by a pitch, a hit by pitch, and a walk, he was hit by a double.토스카지노
Then, on June 6 against the Suwon KT, he lost again. This time, he came on in the bottom of the ninth inning with a 3-0 lead and gave up four runs on four hits and two walks in a 3-4 loss.
LG is still in first place. Even with the loss, they are still 5.5 games behind second-place KT. With four games to go against the second-place team, a 5.5-game gap is objectively not an easy distance to overturn. However, at a time when they are supposed to be ‘consolidating’, the sense of crisis is rising as they have lost repeatedly due to poor finishing, regardless of the team above or below them.
Go Woo-seok is currently struggling with his delivery. In his recent outings, he’s been throwing his pitches high and with less power. His fastball is almost always in the 150 kilometers per hour range, but on the 6th against KT, it was in the low 140s several times. For a hard-throwing pitcher, the change in velocity is a good indicator of the pitcher’s current condition. As his fastball’s power diminishes, he tries to throw his changeup more often than he used to, and as a result, he often fails, leading to a war of attrition over the value of his pitches. Ko’s problem is not his pitch selection or ball mix, but the pitch itself.
After suffering an injury in the buildup to the World Baseball Classic (WBC), which delayed his start to the season, Ko started the year with a shaky performance. While he has since returned to the closer’s role, he hasn’t been able to consistently perform at 100%. The inherent insecurities eventually came to a head at the end of the season, when LG needed to pull away and make a run.
Go has 13 saves this season, along with three wins, but he’s also suffered a whopping seven losses. He is currently the only pitcher in the league with more than six losses who is not a starter. Coincidentally, the fact that the pitcher with the most losses this season, when LG is closest to winning the title, is Go, the symbol of the league’s strongest bullpen, is becoming LG’s biggest source of anxiety.
Without a healthy Go, it’s hard to see LG pulling away for the rest of the season. Even if they manage to hold on to first place, they will have to play fall baseball with a sense of insecurity. The impact of a poor finish is huge. If LG is desperate to win the championship, the after-effects of a single loss could be more than just a loss.