Sometimes a single at-bat can be the start of a rebound, and sometimes it can be a bungee jump that sends you crashing to your death. That’s what happened to LG captain Oh Ji-hwan. His 3-0 at-bat with a ball count ended in failure, and then he fell into a slump as his strike zone faltered.
It was against SSG in Munhak on the 25th of last month. In the top of the second inning, with a 6-0 lead, Oh boldly turned his bat against the opposing pitcher 메이저사이트, Song Young-jin. The count was 3-0 after three pitches were down and out of the top of the strike zone. Oh swung hard, confident that Song would throw a strike with the next pitch. However, the ball was high in the strike zone and Oh was forced to retire on a futile double play.
There was nothing wrong with the process. LG aims to hit first-pitch strikes, hit within three pitches, and hit on 3-0 ball counts. Their aggressive approach to hitting has earned them the top spot in most batting metrics. Aggressive hitting has been the key to Hong Chang-ki’s resurgence this season. Park Dong-won and Austin Dean, who are the fixers in the batting order, are also very good at hitting the first pitch or batting in a 3-0 count.
However, Oh has been in a deep slump since the SSG game. From May 26 against the Gwangju KIA to the Jamsil NC on May 4, he batted just .188 with a .528 OPS in nine games. Most importantly, his strikeouts have increased significantly. His walk-to-strikeout ratio, which had been stable all season, collapsed to four walks and 10 strikeouts in that span, and his batting order dropped from cleanup to sixth and then to seventh.
He asked for help, and his new catcher, Park Dong-won, who is the same age as him, soberly analyzed him. After going 2-for-4 with a double and four RBIs against Gochuk Kiwoom on April 6, Oh said, “I heard a lot of talk from my teammates. I asked a lot of players who have been hitting well lately how they feel and what they think is important at the plate,” he said.
He emphasized that Park Dong-won’s advice has been very helpful. “Dongwon told me something really good. After watching me bat consistently, he told me that my bat goes out even on very difficult pitches. He said that no matter how much the ball count is in your favor, you have to hit the ball that comes in on a course that you can hit well, but because you only care about the ball count, you bat too easily even on difficult courses.”
“I thought about it and realized he was right. So I decided to focus more on the wicket and pay attention to the pitches I could hit,” he said. “Actually, the Literature match was the point where I started to think that the count was in my favor. From that three-ball hit, I only thought about the ball count being in my favor. From then on, I started to bat even on bad pitches.” He reflected on the start of his slump.
When you have a lot of good players, you naturally become a strong team. This is especially true of the batting lineup. Great hitters share their know-how with each other and ride the atmosphere together to create a formidable batting lineup.
At the center of LG’s batting lineup is Park Dong-won, who leads the league in home runs. Through six games, Park is batting .292 with 13 home runs, 38 RBIs, and a .953 OPS. He leads the league in home runs and OPS. Tied for second in the league in RBIs with teammate Austin.
The MVP doesn’t shine alone. He’s a big help to the hitters as well as the pitchers in the battery. If Game 6 is the start of a rebound for Oh, the offense could come alive after a three-game series last weekend.