Is it stubbornness or conviction? Or is it just a happening? Go Woo-seok (25, LG), who is considered one of the best closing pitchers in domestic professional baseball, was suddenly embroiled in controversy over his ‘stubborn insistence on the slider’. There is even talk of him “complaining to the director.”
Go Woo-seok took the mound in the bottom of the 9th inning against Suwon KT on the 6th when the team was ahead 3-0, and gave up 4 runs, becoming the losing pitcher. He had two outs and allowed four hits, two walks and four runs while facing eight batters. He allowed a 3-4 comeback loss. The final walk-off 2-RBI hit by KT Hwang Jae-gyun (36) was partly due to third baseman Moon Bo-kyung’s (23) faulty defense. However, the problem is that in the first place, the closing pitcher gave 2 runs from a 3-run lead and pushed the team to the brink of the bases loaded with 2 outs, providing an excuse for a comeback.안전놀이터
Go Woo-seok has solidified his position as a LG built-in finisher since 2019. He also wore his Taegeuk mark on several occasions, and was ranked as the King of Ensaviors last year (1st place with 42 saves). The problem is this year. Due to his shoulder and back injuries, he was unable to take the mound at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March and was late in joining team training. He was also out of power for the month of May. He later returned, but his power declined. He has shown a roller coaster pitching pattern that starts off well and then crashes, but has recently become serious. After collapsing with 4 runs in 2/3 innings against NC on the 26th of last month, he gave up 10 runs in 5 and 2/3 innings in 6 games. His average ERA during this period is 15.88.
Not only was the poor performance a problem, but after the KT game, noise related to the ‘ball mix’ also arose. LG coach Yeom Kyung-yeop said that Ko Woo-seok should make more use of his strong fastball, but reduce the proportion of breaking balls such as sliders to compete. It is said that he even interviewed the player directly. Looking at the actual data, Go Woo-seok’s fastball hitting percentage this season is 0.230, while his slider hitting percentage soars to 0.319 and 0.367 against right-handed batters. In his pitch on the 6th, Go Woo-seok mostly threw fastballs on the first pitch. It’s like following Director Yeom’s instructions. However, when it was time for him to compete, he got hit while throwing breaking balls such as sliders, curves, and cutters.
On the 5th, Go Woo-seok took the mound in the 8th inning and saved the game by 1 run by allowing no runs. Afterwards, he said, “I fully understand what the coach said (about ball mixing). However, I am stubborn,” he said. “He said, ‘My slider is weak,’ so I thought I should show the coach by throwing only a slider until the end.” Some even said, “Isn’t this a protest?” He said he intentionally tried to prove that the coach was wrong by throwing more curveballs.
KBS N commentator Park Yong-taek, who is also a senior on the LG team, said, “Go Woo-seok is the type to talk about everything honestly, so it seems that his words that he spoke lightly were causing misunderstandings,” adding, “He is not the type of player to (make a complaint, etc.). “In fact, in this game, it would be more appropriate to focus on Moon Bo-kyung’s last mistake (reversal loss),” he said. It means that it is unfair for criticism to be directed at Go Woo-seok’s ball formulation. SPOTV commentator Yang Sang-moon, a former pitcher, said, “In this game, Go Woo-seok threw all fastballs as the first pitch and followed the catcher’s lead,” and added, “The slider was hit, but there were also catches, so it does not seem like he was insisting on a specific ball combination.” He said. He went on to add, “It’s not that Go Woo-seok’s pitching has worsened this season, but rather that the hitters have adapted.”
In fact, Director Yeom later said, “(The late) Wooseok came to visit separately and was sorry. “I was grateful when my eldest son (Go Woo-seok) came and said, ‘I’m sorry, Dad,’” he said, denying any war of nerves between the two.
On the 7th, leader LG defeated second place KT 11 to 4 in Suwon, ending the three-game series with a winning series (2 wins, 1 loss). The game gap was widened to 6.5 games. In Jamsil, 6th place Doosan defeated 5th place KIA 3-0, stopping KIA’s 10th consecutive win. NC defeated Kiwoom, the lowest ranked team, 6-1 in Changwon, lowering SSG, which lost 3-4 to Hanwha that day, to 4th place and rising to 3rd place. Lotte defeated Samsung 2-1 in Ulsan in the 11th overtime.