Is it because of the pressure of the postseason (PS)? In this year’s fall baseball, the slump of closing pitchers is particularly noticeable.
The Doosan Bears lost 9-14 to NC Dinos in the first game of the wild card (WC) decision on the 19th. The mound struggled enough to allow double-digit runs, but the bullpen was particularly shaken. Closing pitcher Jeong Cheol-won, who took the mound in the bottom of the 7th inning with one out and runners on first and second base, allowed two runs with consecutive hits. Former closing pitcher Hong Geon-hee, who appeared in the bottom of the 8th inning, collapsed after allowing 4 hits and 6 runs in two-thirds of an inning. Doosan’s fall baseball season came to an end after just one game amid the search for current and former closing pitchers.
NC, which defeated Doosan and advanced to the semi-playoffs (quasi-PO), is also worried about the back door. Closing pitcher Lee Yong-chan allowed 3 hits and 3 runs in 1 1/3 innings in the first game of the WC decision. The pace in October (average ERA in 8 games was 12.00) was not good, and that trend continued in PS as well. NC coach Kang In-kwon said, “I’m actually worried about (Lee Yong-chan’s role). However, I don’t think it means replacing a player who played as the closing pitcher for one season,” and left the finishing of the semi-PO to Lee Yong-chan.
However, in Game 1 of the series held on the 22nd, Lee Yong-chan came on the mound in the 9th inning with a 4-1 lead, and saved 2 hits (1 home run) and 2 runs in 1 inning. After the game, coach Kang In-kwon said, “Although we hit a home run and gave up a run, I think we finished well. I will believe in it a little more.” Lee Yong-chan, who also pitched in Game 2, allowed one hit and one walk. He didn’t give up any runs, but it was a close pitch.
SSG’s situation is similar. Closing pitcher Seo Jin-yong took the mound in the top of the 9th inning when the team was down 1-3 in the first game, with one out and runners on first base, and gave up an additional run. Seo Ho-cheol’s timely hit allowed with 2 outs and 2nd base was painful. SSG chased after Ha Jae-hoon’s two-run home run in the bottom of the 9th inning, but lost 3-4. Seo Jin-yong recorded 42 saves this year and was named the KBO League’s relief king. PS’ performance was expected to break the SSG club’s record for most saves in a season (previously 36 saves), but the first game was below expectations. It appears that the ‘slumming virus’ of fall baseball closing pitchers, including Jeong Cheol-won, Hong Geon-hee, Lee Yong-chan, and Seo Jin-yong, is spreading. The biggest reason why the outcome fluctuates at the end of the game is because the tailgate is unstable.
It was on the PS stage that the performance of Mariano Rivera, the number one saver in the U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB), stood out even more. Rivera’s PS career record is an average ERA of 0.70 in 96 games. He recorded an ERA of 0.99 in 24 World Series (WS) appearances. Rivera, who left behind a comical performance in fall baseball, said, “It’s a burden to know that we advanced to the playoffs. Some people can’t handle it well, and some people can.” He added, “It’s not regular season baseball. It’s the same game, but it’s different. The pressure is different.” “It just happens,” he said.안전놀이터
PS has a different atmosphere from the regular season. The concentration of hitters is at its peak. ‘Final leader’ Oh Seung-hwan (Samsung Lions) said in the past, “You will feel a different atmosphere and pressure from the regular season.” He added, “Only by overcoming that can the team win and the player’s value increase. There is no such thing as know-how. Think differently (from the regular season). “We have to approach it differently,” he said. Depending on how the back door is locked, the joys and sorrows of the KBO League’s PS are expected to be mixed. This is a key point that applies not only to semi-PO, but also to playoffs (PO) and Korean Series (KS).