It’s all about the mindset.
KT Wiz starting pitcher Ko Young-pyo is preparing for the playoffs. “You have to look forward to success instead of being afraid of failure,” he says. “That’s better for me and my team. It’s better for me and the team,” he says. “I’m going to think about it in a good way and be excited. I’m not going to worry or be anxious about things that haven’t happened yet.”
KT finished the regular season in second place and went directly to the playoffs. After a series of injuries at the beginning of the season, the team bounced around the bottom of the standings, but from June onward, they had a steep upward curve. It was a remarkable rebound.
“We had a tough start, but the players played their roles well and held on. “In the middle of the season, (starting pitcher) William Cuevas came back as a substitute and the atmosphere improved. From then on, I think KT showed its strengths.”
He continued, “I wanted to be No. 1, but I’m disappointed. “In the pitching staff, we lost (So) Hyung-joon-i and (Kim) Min-soo to injuries, but the juniors such as Kim Young-hyun, Park Young-hyun, and Son Dong-hyun have grown up. I’m happy that the team seems to be stronger.”
Ko Young-pyo’s season ended a little early. On March 3, he was hit in the right arm by a pitch during a game against KIA. He was unable to pitch further in the aftermath. The pain radiated to his shoulder. He swallowed his disappointment and focused on his recovery. 짱구카지노 도메인“It was the first time I was hit by a ball on my pitching arm. “I tried not to worry too much because I thought it would be okay, and I was just thinking, ‘How can I do better in the postseason?'” he said.
On April 26, the team played its own clean sweep at its home stadium, Suwon KT Wiz Park. Ko started and pitched five innings of four-hit ball, striking out five and walking none. His total pitch count was 62. His fastball peaked at 137 kilometers per hour and his average velocity was 134 kilometers per hour. He also checked his changeup, his main weapon, and his curveball. Overall, it was a passing grade.
He will be making his third postseason appearance. In the 2021 Korean Series, he pitched in the middle of the order. In three games and 4⅔ innings, he had a 3.86 ERA with two holds. He helped KT win its first title in franchise history. Last year, he started in the semi-playoffs. In Game 1, he struggled, giving up five runs (four earned) in 2⅓ innings. This year, he hopes to redeem himself.
“It’s always the end of the season in September and October, so I think I lost my strength and concentration. Last year, it was a big game and I wanted to do well, but my body was tired and didn’t respond. “That’s also an experience, and I’m confident that I can do better this time because I went through that failure,” he said.
“I pitched well in the regular season and I wanted to bring that to the postseason. I felt like I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to do better, and it didn’t come out. This year, I’ll treat it as the same game and do what I’ve always done,” he said. “I’ll just enjoy it with the mindset of ‘let’s try to pitch well’. I’m going to do my best, focusing only on KT’s victory,” he said.
Just like the regular season. In 28 games and 174⅔ innings this year, he went 12-7 with a 2.78 ERA. That’s tied for fifth in the league in wins, sixth in ERA, and seventh in innings pitched. Tied for second with 21 quality starts (six or more innings and three or fewer earned runs). He leads the league in Quality Starts Plus (7+ innings with 3 or fewer earned runs) with 17. Even more impressive are his strikeouts. While he’s struck out 114 batters, he’s walked just 19. His 0.98 walks per nine innings leads the league. That’s a far cry from second-place Raul Alcantara (Doosan)’s 1.64.
“Personally, I care more about my pitching timing, rhythm, and balance than my record, but I wasn’t satisfied until the middle of the season. “I felt like I got my pitches back in the second half of the season,” he said. I’m happy with my ERA, QS+, etc. I felt like I was performing well for what I was throwing.”
When it comes to walks, “I try to pitch with the mindset of ‘I’m not going to give them up.’ I’m the type of pitcher who tries to make in-play pitches and get hits, so I try to keep the ball in the strike zone as much as possible.” “Naturally, my walks went down, but so did my strikeouts. It’s a result of the goal I set and I accepted it.” Ko’s strikeouts dropped from 156 last year to 114 this year. “I want to increase my strikeouts and decrease my walks,” he said. “As an athlete, you have to keep wanting to improve.
The team is now in full “fall baseball mode. “There’s nothing special about it. I don’t want to give up the lead, so I’m going to pitch to limit the runs.” “Above all, my physical condition is the most important thing. I put it as my top priority.” “The goal is to win a championship. I experienced it as a reliever in 2021, so this year I want to play a good role as a starter and experience the championship again.”
The key player according to Ko is pitcher Uhm Sang-baek. He has been out of the lineup since August 22 against KIA. He was diagnosed with microfractures in his ribs. He will make his comeback in the postseason. “We are a team with strong starters,” said Ko Young-pyo. After Hyung-jun was sidelined with elbow surgery, (Bae) Je-seong and (Uhm) Sang-baek held us up,” he said. “The key is how Sang-baek will perform in the fall. He’s a pitcher who can start and pitch in the bullpen, so I think he’ll be a big help to coach (Lee Kang-cheol).”
KT’s playoff opponent is the NC Dinos. NC, which finished fourth in the regular season, defeated the fifth-place Doosan Bears in one game in the wild-card decider. In the best-of-five semifinals, the team won three straight games against the season’s third-place SSG Landers. It’s their fourth straight win in the postseason this year.
The playoffs will also be a best-of-five series. Game 1 will be held on the 30th and Game 2 on the 31st at KT’s home base, Suwon. Games 3 and 4 are scheduled for next month on February 2 and 3 in Changwon. If the best-of-five series is held, it will be played in Suwon on the 5th of next month.