Four goals, no chance for a standby + the team is in a six-game losing streak…but who’s going to throw stones at Koo Seung-min?
Lotte Giants set-up man Koo Seung-min (33) had his worst pitch of the season. But no one could blame him.
In the top of the eighth inning of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League game against the KT Wiz at Sajik Stadium on June 26, with his team leading 5-2, Koo was the team’s fourth pitcher.
Seung-min Koo, who had recently pitched in three straight games, was tired and struggled a bit. He gave up a leadoff double to Anthony Alford to center field. He then struck out Moon Sang-chul to get some breathing room, but gave up an RBI single to Oh Yoon-seok to make it 5-3. He struck out Choi Jae-dae to end the threat, but gave up a single to Shin Bong-ki and a walk to Kim Min-hyuk to load the bases.
Kim Won-joong took the mound after Koo Seung-min and gave up a two-run double to Park Kyung-soo with the bases loaded and a throwing error by Kurtman Goodrum that allowed three runs to score, making it 5-6. Koo, who had a hold pitcher condition, lost the hold condition as his team lost the lead. He was forced to watch his team fall to 6-8 and fall into a six-game losing streak, as well as postpone the 20-hold challenge for the second time in four years in the KBO after Ahn Ji-won (2012-2015).
For Lotte, it was frustrating to see their reliable man, Koo Seung-min, falter after giving up four runs (three earned) on three hits and one walk with two strikeouts in ⅔ of an inning, but no one can begrudge Koo Seung-min. He had done enough for the team.
This year, Koo has a 3.88 ERA in 57 games, 19 holds, 3 saves, and 53⅓ innings pitched. He is tied for second in the league in games pitched after Park Young-hyun (KT/59), along with Kim Jin-sung and Ham Deok-ju (LG Twins) and Kim Sang-soo (Lotte). He has appeared in more than half of the 107 games the team has played to date.
Koo has been utilized more frequently in the late innings. He’s called upon in a variety of situations, including when the team is leading, or when they’re trailing by a small margin and want to keep the score close and make a late-game push. In fact, Koo has pitched in 18 of the team’s 30 games since the All-Star break. Last week and this week, he pitched two three-game series. With the weather getting hotter and hotter, the pressure could definitely be on.
However, the team’s urgency to end the five-game losing streak and the fact that they had already used Choi Joon-yong and Kim Sang-soo and had no pitchers available to pitch in tight situations late in the game made the setup man Koo Seung-min take the mound for the third consecutive day.
According to baseball statistics site Statiz, Koo has thrown 1006 pitches this year, the second-most of any bullpen pitcher in the league. As his games, innings, and pitch counts show, he’s been consistently solid for the team this season.스포츠토토
It’s true that Koo Seung-min has had his ups and downs. The team’s losing streak has now reached six games. But it’s times like these that he needs all the support and encouragement he can get.