SSG public punching bag, 8 of 24 Gs are 10+ runs.
The game against LG Electronics in Jamsil on the 16th was crucial for SSG, as the team was leading 2-0 against Doosan in Jamsil on the 14th, when Seo Jin-yong gave up three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and lost the game. They had to end the losing streak immediately and revitalize the team’s atmosphere.
It was a frustrating situation until the middle of the game. Until the fifth inning, they were stuck with opposing starter Casey Kelly’s changeup and couldn’t score a single run. Won-seok Oh wasn’t pitching badly, but she gave up a run in the first inning and two in the fifth to fall to 0-3.
However, a four-run sixth inning turned the tide of the game. After back-to-back singles by Choo Shin-soo and Choi Ji-hoon and a walk to Choi Jeong, Heredia’s RBI single and Choi Joo-hwan’s RBI double tied the game once and for all. Then, Park Sung-hyun hit an RBI single against reliever Kim Jin-sung to make it 4-3.
Now it was time to protect that one run, but given SSG’s recent bullpen form, I couldn’t help but feel nervous, and that nervousness showed in the bottom of the sixth. They scored four runs to take the lead, only to give up four more in the top of the sixth.
Oh Won-seok, who threw about 80 pitches in the fifth inning, took the mound in the sixth. Although Choi Min-jun was warming up early, the bench felt that Oh Won-seok was more effective. In fact, LG’s batting order went left-handed. But that changed in the top of the sixth inning when Oh Won-seok gave up a double to Moon Bo-kyung and a walk to Park Dong-won. Moon grounded out to the first baseman, but runners were stranded at second and third.
LG’s batting order now featured four lefties in a row, Park Hae-min, Hong Chang-gi, Shin Min-jae, and Kim Hyun-soo, and SSG brought in 40-year-old veteran Ko Hyo-joon as their second pitcher. It was a choice that could have been made considering Oh Won-seok had been hit by Park Hae-min and Hong Chang-ki in his previous at-bats.
He’s a left-hander, but he’s not really that strong against lefties. Of course, there’s no denying that he’s been dominant in the SSG bullpen this year, and he should be commended for that. But he hasn’t been great against lefties anyway. He’s faced a total of 123 lefties this year, with a .293 BABIP, a .410 OPS, and a .764 FIP. He didn’t allow a lot of long balls, but he basically had a very high walk rate. A 0.410 OPS is the preserve of one of the few elite hitters in the league.
Against 104 right-handed batters, however, he had very strong data, with a 0.119 BABIP, 0.275 FIP, and 0.430 OPS. Instead, they used a weak lefty against lefties. The pitching change was a result, but not a good one.
Considering Hong’s hitting was at its peak, he should have been able to match Park Hae-min in the second inning, but his determination to preserve the first run was too strong, and he ended up giving up a walk, putting himself in a more difficult situation. He gave up a two-run double to Hong Chang-ki, and that was that.
Perhaps the problem wasn’t Go Hyo-joon, but the fact that SSG didn’t have a better left-hander than Go, who has a 0.764 OPS against lefties. SSG didn’t have any lefties in the bullpen right now. They’ve been suffering from a lefty famine this year and haven’t done much about it. They didn’t have a lot of guys in the second team, and they weren’t going to experiment with guys in the second team. Instead, they relied on veterans Ko Hyo-joon and Lim Jun-seop. These two players dominated the team.
However, the data clearly shows that both lefties are weak against lefties. Im has an OPS of 0.845 against lefties. In fact, the only player in the bullpen that day who was stronger against lefties was Lee Kun-wook. There’s been a lot of talk about the need to keep experimenting with Han and other left-handed options, but it’s been 토토 neglected. We didn’t have the resources, and we weren’t willing to experiment with the first team. The result is a bullpen lefty famine. This is a problem even if you’re going to the postseason. The KBO is a league with a lot of good lefties.
SSG is a stranger. With their main bullpen struggling, SSG has given up double-digit runs eight times in their last 24 games. There’s little hope that this will improve. The players coming up from the second team have never been tested in big situations. When it matters most, you have to rely on your most reliable players, and it’s hard to use younger players at this critical juncture. A tough remaining schedule awaits.