KT Wiz homegrown ace Ko Young-pyo, who has been an ace all season, has faltered sharply in September.
In his 13th start of the season against the LG Twins in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on Sept. 7, Ko gave up six runs on 10 hits (one home run) in six innings with three walks and six strikeouts. The team’s 4-11 loss was their seventh of the season, and Ko didn’t live up to expectations following his performance against the Gochuk Kium Heroes the previous day (5 innings, 9 hits (1 HR), 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 6 runs).
This is the first time this season that Ko has taken the loss in back-to-back games and the first time he’s given up six runs. His ERA, which once dipped into the mid-2s, spiked to 2.74 on Day 1 and rose to 2.99 after Game 7.
On this day, Ko cruised through the first and second innings without allowing a run, but he got into trouble in the top of the third. He gave up a double to Moon Sung-joo and an infield single to Park Hae-min to put runners on first and second. Eventually, Hong Chang-ki hit an RBI double to end Ko’s no-hitter.
That wasn’t the end of it. In the top of the fourth inning, Ko was hit by a pitch with one out. Moon Bo-kyung singled and stole second, followed by Oh Ji-hwan’s RBI single, and Park Dong-won’s single and Oh Ji-hwan’s stolen base put runners on first and third. Eventually, Moon Sung-joo’s grounder to the first baseman allowed Oh Ji-hwan to score from third.
After a no-hitter in the fifth inning, Ko was unable to throw any more pitches as he was hit by a two-run shot from Oh in the top of the sixth. He managed to get out of the top of the sixth, but was forced to hand the mound over to the bullpen with the game on the line.
A home run is a home run, but there was something else that bothered Ko. LG’s mobility. He gave up a whopping five stolen bases, clearly unable to cope with the ‘LG run’. The KT infield, as well as the Koh-Young-pyo-Jang Sung-woo battery, were forced to run around LG throughout the game. This is a clear indication of what Ko needs to work on for the rest of the season, and even more so for big games.
If his slump is prolonged, the impact on the entire team will be significant. Currently, KT has a starting lineup that is missing two homegrown pitchers in Choi Min-joon and Uhm Sang-baek, as well as a couple of injuries. Foreign pitcher William Cuevas, who joined the team in June, has given them some breathing room, but with the rest of the season on the line, KT has to be concerned about their starting staff.스포츠토토
If even their ace is unable to stay centered, it’s hard to see how KT can hold onto second place. The gap between the NC Dinos and KT is only 1.5 games with the latter having moved up to third place after a three-game sweep in midweek. It remains to be seen if Ko Young-pyo, who has seen the challenges through two games in September, can regain his form and save his team from the brink.