The Lotte Giants’ “Glasses Ace” Park Se-woong put a smile back on his face with his relief pitch. With his best pitching performance of the season, the right-hander shook off the disappointment of April and opened the door to victory.
Park started the sixth game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against the NC Dinos at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan on April 25 and pitched seven innings of two-hit ball with one walk and eight strikeouts to lead Lotte to an 11-1 victory. It was his second consecutive victory after earning his first win of the season against the SSG Landers on April 19.
Park literally “overpowered” the NC bats on the day, mixing a fastball that touched 150 kilometers per hour with a variety of other pitches, including curves, sliders, and forkballs. His aggressive pitching stood out as he didn’t give up a single four-pitch count until the top of the seventh inning when he reached 100 pitches.
In the top of the 6th inning, with runners on second and third, he got NC’s Park Gun-woo to ground into an infield single and didn’t allow a run. He shut down the NC offense with triple plays in the first, second, fourth, and fifth innings and easily racked up outs throughout his time on the mound.
After the game, Park expressed his satisfaction, saying, “The team needed a win and it was an important start for me, so I’m happy that the result was good. I don’t know what else to say except ‘good,'” and gave credit to his teammates, saying, “The batters gave me a lot of support early on, so I was able to throw comfortably, and my catcher, Information Geun, made it really easy for me to lead off.”
Park struggled from the start of the regular season last month, going 1-1 with a 5.25 ERA in five games until his last start against the KIA Tigers on April 2. He entered the 2023 season with expectations high after a strong performance at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March, but has gotten off to a rough start.
However, he was not a ‘glasses ace’ who could be easily broken, and after surviving five innings of one-run ball against the KT Wiz on the 12th, he was back to 100% with two consecutive Quality Starts+ before this game. For now, Park himself says he’s at “70 to 80 percent of where he was at his best.”
Park attributes his rebound to aggressive pitching, according to manager Larry Sutton. Sutton cited a lack of “aggression” as one of the reasons for Park’s April struggles.
Park has been working to improve his pitch count, which he says was caused by overthinking his pitches after two strikes. As a result, he’s finding it easier to get through the innings, which is the most important thing for him.
Park said, “The best thing today was the four pitches. I was most concerned about the high strikeout rate at the beginning of this season compared to last year,” he said, explaining, “I asked for information roots, pre-game curveballs, and pitches that emphasized forkballs, and it worked.”
“I’m never completely satisfied, but I pitched seven innings today, so I felt like I was making some progress,” he said, emphasizing that he wanted to be responsible for the seventh inning because if I pitched the seventh inning, the bullpen would only have to close two innings.메이저놀이터
With Park returning to form, Lotte has gained momentum in the May standings. With a season record of 24 wins and 15 losses and a win-loss margin of +9, Lotte is in third place, and the homegrown one-two punch of Na Kyun-ahn and Park Se-woong is a big reason why. After failing to advance to the fall baseball for the past five years, the team is raising hopes for the postseason.
“For any team, if you keep winning games, the mood is bound to improve, and that’s the case for us,” Park said. “We need to make sure we get more wins when we can. We want to win a lot when we can,” he said.