SSG Landers’ biggest concern after winning the overall title last year was the back door.
Last year, Seo Jin-yong and Kim Taek-hyung took turns as closers,바카라 while Moon Seung-won and Noh Kyung-eun were called in as emergency relievers, causing anxiety at the end of games. Suddenly, SSG recorded 23 team blown saves, second only to Hanwha (25), and was criticized for not looking like a championship team.
But this season is different. That’s because Seo Jin-yong has awakened as a complete closer.
He became the first goalkeeper in the league to reach the 30-save mark with one more save against Lotte at Sajik Stadium in Busan on May 5.
Seo’s record this season has been excellent, with a 1-1 record, 30 saves, and a 1.42 ERA in 44.1 innings pitched. On top of that, he hasn’t blown a single save yet and has been able to keep the team’s back door shut.
The team’s second-place finish in the league means he’ll have plenty of opportunities to make more saves, and he could challenge for the franchise record for most saves. The most saves in a season for SSG (including his time with SK) is 36 by Ha Jae-hoon in 2019, and Seo Jin-yong needs just six more.
The Korean Series winner and the relief king that year. The Korea Daily Sports
However, there is one record that is cringe-worthy, and that is the ‘no reliever’ streak that has been going on for 10 years.
In 2012, Oh Seung-hwan, who led Samsung to the championship, won the title with 37 saves. However, from the following year until last year, the pitcher who led the league in saves for 10 years did not win the Korean Series.
In 2015, Lim Chang-yong (33 saves) won the regular season title, but he was unable to participate in the Korean Series due to the “illegal offshore boating” scandal that year, and his team finished as runners-up.
All of these teams have one thing in common: they all played fall baseball. Saves are team wins, and having a strong closer was a clear factor in their success.
While Seo Jin-yong continues his streak of zero blown saves and keeps the team’s back door shut, SSG hasn’t been in the best of moods lately. Their lead over LG has grown to 4.5 games, and as the number of losses increases, Seo’s save opportunities decrease. It remains to be seen if the ‘no matter who saves’ rule will apply to Seo for the 10th consecutive year.