“In baseball, there’s always a moment when you think, ‘I’m good,’ and then something happens. The opponent always tries to take advantage of that.”
A series of fielding errors shook the ace, who boasted a one-run ERA. The scoreboard, however, showed a “0” for error.
Aaron Wilkerson joined the Lotte Giants shortly after the All-Star Game, replacing Dan Straily. He’s not a hard-throwing pitcher, but he has an elaborate arsenal of offspeed pitches, a good changeup, and a good mind game.
He started seven games in the second half, averaging more than six innings per outing, and went 3-1 with a salty 1.69 ERA. Five quality starts. He never allowed more than three earned runs before the fifth inning. He was nicknamed “Jesus the Resignation” because of his fluttering long hair and dazzling performance.
On the 5th, against the Samsung Lions in Ulsan. The mighty Wilkerson faltered, plagued by a series of defensive lapses.
Wilkerson ended the first inning with a three-run double play. Lotte took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a three-run home run by Yoo Kang-nam.
The top of the second inning was also perfect. Samsung’s third batter, Ryu Ji-hyuk, hit a sharp line drive to left field. It would have been a one-base hit, but Lotte left fielder Hwang Sung-bin was more adventurous. He attempted a diving catch in front of the plate.
Unfortunately, the ball bounded in front of him, hit his glove and bounced sideways, allowing Ryu Ji-hyuk to run to second base. The scorekeeper recorded a double to left field with no errors.
Commentator Park Jae-hong disagreed, saying, “I can understand it. There’s a score difference, and it’s two outs. Hwang Sung-bin must have been confident in himself, so he came in boldly.” However, he also said, “The bottom line is that it was unreasonable. What was supposed to be a single became a double,” he criticized.
The anxiety became a reality. The next batter, Lee Jae-hyun, hit a single up the middle. Park pointed out that “the defense, which was supposed to put runners on second and first, gave up one run on a single hit.”
Another fielding error came in the top of the fifth inning when Lotte took a 5-1 lead. Wilkerson struck out pinch-hitter Kim Dong-jin with runners on first and second, then induced the next batter, Kim Hyun-jun, to hit a hard grounder to second base. It was a fastball that even the speedy Kim had no trouble handling.
However, shortstop Noh Jin-hyuk didn’t handle the ball quickly enough and Kim Hyun-joon was safe at first base. His foot got slightly caught on the second base, causing him to miss the ball slightly, and the throw to first base was late. Kim Hyun-joon then stole second and Kim Sung-yoon followed with a two-run triple, increasing Wilkerson’s lead to three.
It was a disappointing defense that took away from the pitcher’s strength. Wilkerson’s reputed calmness allowed him to finish the fifth inning without allowing another run, but it was a series of mistakes that would have caused any other pitcher to suddenly collapse.
Neither error was recorded. “In the second inning and the fifth inning, we gave up runs without finishing the inning in time,” Park said, adding, “Lotte is the second team with the fewest errors, so it’s a numerical error. In my experience, they don’t have a lot of defense in both the infield and outfield. There are many pitfalls (errors) that are not recorded,” he strongly criticized.먹튀검증
Wilkerson’s pitch count rose sharply, but he held up well. He made it through the sixth inning. It was his sixth quality start of the season (6+ innings and 3 earned runs or less).
The offense exploded for a 10-3 win and a second straight victory. However, the team still needs to stabilize its defense.