Stubbornness, conviction. Ko Woo-seok (25-LG), one of the best closers in the Korean Baseball Organization, is suddenly caught up in a controversy over his insistence on sliders. There is even talk of “protesting to the manager.”
Go gave up four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning of a 3-0 win over KT Suwon on April 6. He gave up four runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts while facing eight batters. He took the loss in a 4-3 deficit. The last hit, a two-run double off KT’s Hwang Jae-gyun (36), was a result of a poor throw by third baseman Moon Bo-kyung (23). However, the fact that the closer gave up two runs from a three-run lead and a bases-loaded walk in the first place is troubling.
Go Woo-seok has solidified himself as LG’s closer since 2019. He’s worn the Taeguk mark multiple times, and last year he led the league in saves (42). The problem is this year. Plagued by shoulder and back injuries, he didn’t take the mound at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March and was late to join team training. He was even sidelined for the month of May. He returned, but his power was down. His roller-coaster pitching, where he would pitch well and then crash, has gotten worse recently. After giving up four runs in two-thirds of an inning in the NC on May 26, he gave up 10 runs in five and two-thirds of an inning in six games. His ERA during that stretch is 15.88.
His poor performance is one thing, but after the game against KT, there were also rumors about his ball mix. LG manager Yoon Kyung-yeop said that Go should utilize his fastball more, which is his strength, but reduce the percentage of sliders and other changeups to win games. He even had a meeting with the player himself. Looking at the actual data, Go’s batting average against fastballs this season is 0.230, while his slider is 0.319, rising to 0.367 against righties. In his six starts, Ko has mostly used his fastball for strikes. He’s been following Yoon’s instructions. However, when it came down to it, he struggled with his changeup, which included a slider, curveball, and cutter.
On the fifth, he pitched the eighth inning and preserved a one-run lead with a scoreless inning. Afterward, he said, “I understand what the manager said (about pitch mix). However, I’m stubborn,” he said, adding, “He said, ‘My slider is weak,’ so I thought, ‘I should throw only sliders until the end to show the manager. Some people said, “Isn’t it a protest?” He intentionally threw more changeups to prove the manager wrong.
KBS N commentator Park Yong-taek, who is also a senior member of the LG team, said, “Go Woo-seok’s style is to talk about everything frankly, so I think it was coincidentally misunderstood when he said it lightly.” “He’s not the kind of player to do that (protest). In fact, in this game, it’s more appropriate to focus on Moon Bo-kyung’s error in the last inning.” It’s unfair to point the finger of blame at Ko Woo-seok’s pitch mix. “He threw all fastballs in this game and followed the catcher’s lead,” said SPOTV commentator Yang Sang-moon, who is a former pitcher. “His slider got some hits, but he also got some catches, so I don’t think he was sticking to a specific pitch mix.” “I don’t think it’s that his pitches have gotten worse this season, but that the hitters have adjusted to them,” he added.
In fact, Yoon later said, “(Go) Woo-seok apologized for coming to me separately. My eldest son (Ko Woo-seok) came and said, ‘I’m sorry, dad,’ so I was grateful to him.”먹튀검증
Seven-day leader LG swept second-place KT 11-4 in Suwon to wrap up the three-game series with a sweep (2-1). They extended their lead to 6.5 games. In Jamsil, No. 6 Doosan swept No. 5 KIA 3-0, ending KIA’s 10-game winning streak. NC moved into third place with a 6-1 win over last-place Kiwoom in Changwon, knocking SSG, which lost to Hanwha 4-3 earlier in the day, down to fourth. Lotte beat Samsung 2-1 in 11 extra innings in Ulsan.