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Stripped Seo

Posted July. 08, 2003 21:55,   


Two home runs ruined him: one from Chipper Jones in the first, and the other from Robert Fick in the sixth. This was the first time Seo had ever allowed two homers in one game. For the past six games prior to this one, Seo had not given up a single home run.

He threw quality pitches for six games, and then lost three games in a row. What is wrong with him?

MBC-TV sports commentator Huh Goo-yon analyzed, "His ball command has begun to reveal his essential weakness, I believe." He picked up Greg Maddux as an example. "He is well renowned for his excellent ball command. But, this year, batters are literally beating the hell out of him. Maddux, as with Seo, does not throw threatening fastballs. That is why, I guess."

First of all, his "repertoire" is completely exposed to hitters. Major league teams did not know much about Seo to begin with. But, once Seo began to show excellent performance, they put themselves on guard and gathered information on him. Now, major leaguers know quite well about his pitching patterns. Thus, it has become hard for him to survive on the mound with his simple pitching pattern consisting of change-ups and fastballs.

In addition, some umpires strictly enforce their strike zones against rookies. "For the past two games, the strike zone was too narrow. I thought it was a part of the ritual of becoming a real major leaguer," said Seo. Pulled off the mound in the fourth, taking on the Montreal Expoes, he called the crew chief various names.

"To overcome all these problems, he has to arm himself with more sophisticated ball command and pitching patterns. He may need a diagonal approach. He could, for example, throw a high ball outside, and pitch the next lower inside. That way, he would confuse the batters," proposed Huh.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com