Why the Strongest Finishers Hang Their Head in Shame?

LG Twins closer Woo-seok Ko took the loss in his first Korean Series start. LG, which is trying to win its first Korean Series title in 29 years, suffered an upset in a crucial Game 1. The stakes are high for the rest of the series.

Game 1 of the Korean Series between KT and LG at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on July 7.

The two teams traded runs in the top of the first and bottom of the first innings with back-to-back defensive errors. KT took the lead in the first inning when Kim Sang-soo singled, stole second, and reached third on a throwing error by catcher Park Dong-won. LG tied the game in the bottom of the first on a throwing error by second baseman Park Kyung-soo with runners on first and third, and then took a 2-1 lead on a sacrifice fly by Moon Bo-kyung with one out.

In the fourth inning, 먹튀검증토토사이트 KT put runners on first and second with back-to-back walks, and Jang Jang-woo tied the game at 2-2 with an RBI single. From then on, a tense pitching battle ensued and the balance remained unchanged.

In the top of the ninth inning, with the score tied at 2-2, LG closer Go Woo-seok took the mound.

He faced the first batter, Park Byung-ho, and after two 154-kilometer fastballs turned into back-to-back foul balls, he used his third and fourth cutter (147 kilometers) to get a groundout to shortstop. Jang Jang-woo also saw two fastballs become balls. He used a cutter for a two-pitch, two-strike at-bat and a 153-kilometer fastball to get a fly out to left field.

He threw a 155-mph fastball up to the plate, but his delivery was shaky and he fought off a full count. It was unfortunate that he walked on nine pitches. With two on and one out, he threw a six-pitch 133-kilometer curveball to Moon Sang-chul, who hit it over the top of the left field fence for a long ball. KT’s first baseman rounded third base and came home to make it 3-2.

In the bottom of the ninth, LG failed to tie the game, and that would be the final score, with Go Woo-seok taking the loss. In 44 games this season, Ko has a 3-8 record with 15 saves and a 3.68 ERA. In 44 innings pitched, he struck out 59 and walked 22. His eight losses are the most among LG pitchers. Starter Kelly has the second-most with seven. In preparation for the series, Yeom said, “Go Woo-seok has eight losses in the season. I was hoping he wouldn’t lose any more,” but I was wrong.

Go threw 17 fastballs on the day, topping out at 155 mph, with nine balls and eight strikes.

Of the strikes, five were foul balls. His 155 mph fastball was so dominant that he had fewer swings and misses. Threw 1 inning, 30 pitches, 1 hit, 1 walk, and 1 run.

Against his assigned pitcher, he threw a full count of 154-152-153 mph fastballs, all of which were fouls. The last pitch, a 153 mph fastball, was fouled off the plate. He threw four straight fastballs for strikes in a full count, but couldn’t get a swinging strike.

After the walk, he faced Moon and threw a curveball-fastball-curve-cutter, and then a five-pitch curveball for a single and two-run double. After going 3-for-3 against Moon in the regular season, he got the decisive hit in the Korean Series.

Go throws a hard fastball that reaches up to 155-158 mph, a cutter (slider) in the mid-to-low 140s, and a curveball. His changeup is mostly a cutter, but it has a lot of velocity and can be timed with his fastball. He doesn’t throw a lot of curveballs.

“It’s hard for righties when their strikeout rate drops. The pitch count increases. It’s usually 20 pitches (in an inning). If Woo-seok has the ball, he has to finish with 15 or less. A closer who throws the best fastball becomes a completely different pitcher if he is sure of one off-speed pitch.”

Ko was hit by a forkball for a home run against Austin in the Blue-White game on Oct. 29.

He’s been practicing with a new type of forkball, which he tried out in a scrimmage. Yeom said that Go Woo-seok is throwing the forkball in preparation for next season. He didn’t have any off-speed pitches like a changeup or a forkball, so he felt the need for a new pitch.

Coach Yeom embraced the losing pitcher, saying, “(He) is in good shape. Moon Sang-chul hit one of his pitches well, but it’s unfortunate because his fastball is not bad, but he gave up a run, but I think he’ll be fine. I was worried about his injury, but I think he will continue to finish and do well in the next game.”

Go has been battling multiple injuries (neck, back) this year. In March, he participated in the World Baseball Classic, but was unable to pitch a single game in the tournament due to a throat infection during a practice game. He rejoined the first team in mid-April, but after pitching four games in a six-game series at the end of April, he spent a month on the disabled list with a back muscle strain.

In October, he pitched for the national team at the Hangzhou Asian Games and returned home with a gold medal. After throwing hard in the final, he developed a bile in his throat and didn’t pitch a game until the end of the regular season after returning to LG.

As he prepared for the Korean Series, he almost had another scare.

Go Woo-seok complained of back pain while throwing in a practice game against the Sangmu on the 1st. In the ninth inning, he felt something wrong with his back and had to leave the game in a hurry.

The next day, he underwent a hospital checkup, and an LG representative said, “Based on the results of the MRI examination and hospital checkup, he was diagnosed with a simple muscle pain in his back and will spend two to three days in recovery training.” Afterward, he carefully practiced recovery training and checked his condition by pitching in the bullpen on the 5th.

At the media day held on the 6th, manager Yoon Kyung-yeop said about Go Woo-seok, “He pitched about 16 pitches in the bullpen the day before (on the 5th). I talked with the training staff and pitching coaches about his physical condition after pitching. They all reported that there was no problem. I don’t think there will be any problems with him pitching as a closer in Game 1 of the Korean Series.”

54 responses to “Why the Strongest Finishers Hang Their Head in Shame?”

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