Come-from-behind wins, come-from-behind losses, and come-from-behind wins keep baseball fans on the edge of their seats. A come-from-behind three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning is something out of a movie, and it’s happening in the Korean Series. The first and second place teams are struggling with their closers.
Game 1 of the Korean Series. In the top of the ninth inning, with the score tied at 2-2, LG brought up closer Ko Woo-seok. He got two outs, but after a full-count battle with the No. 6 batter, his nine-pitch fastball slipped and became a walk. Then, facing Moon Sang-chul in the seventh, Go Woo-seok threw a six-pitch curveball in a 2B2S and got a backhanded RBI double off the left-field fence. A 3-2 deficit. Ko Woo-seok took the loss.굿모닝토토 주소
Game 3. Leading 5-4 in the bottom of the 8th inning. LG’s Go Woo-seok took the mound. Bae Jae-dae singled to center, and Kim Sang-soo advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Hwang Jae-gyun hit a double down the left field line to tie the game at 5-5. Blown save. He then threw a low 152-kilometer fastball to Byung-ho Park for a two-run shot over the left field fence. 5-7. He was in danger of being the losing pitcher again.
In the top of the ninth, KT closer Kim Jae-yoon came up. He gave up an infield single to leadoff hitter Hong Chang-ki. But he got Park Hae-min to fly out to third and Kim Hyun-soo to ground out to second. Two on and one out against Austin.
Austin continued to work the count, picking off three consecutive sliders on a 1B2S to end the inning. With runners on first and second, Oh watched the first pitch fall well outside the zone and then lined a 145-mph fastball up the middle for a three-run shot over the right field fence. Tied at 7-8.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Go Woo-seok was replaced by Lee Jung-yong, who had runners on first and second after a hit and a walk. Fortunately, Lee got Kim Sang-soo to ground out to the pitcher with one out to preserve the win. Go Woo-seok was the winning pitcher.
Go Woo-seok is arguably the best closer in Korea right now. He closes games with a fastball that can reach up to 157 kilometers. Last year, he led the league in saves with 42. This year, he only managed 15 saves due to injury, but he’s still the best in the game. He has 139 career saves.
Kim Jae-yoon is another veteran finisher. He may not be flashy, but he fulfills his role. He has recorded 169 saves in his career, including three consecutive 30-save seasons: 32 saves in 2021, 33 saves last year, and 32 saves this year.
These are two teams with two very good closers, but the problem is that the ninth inning isn’t getting any easier. It’s a drama that fans don’t know if they’re going to win or lose until the very end, which makes for a lot of fun and the phrase “the greatest Korean Series ever,” but it’s also a pain in the ass for managers.
I wonder if we will see the neat finish that we have seen so often in the remaining series.