“By the fifth year of being a mercenary, you’ve already analyzed the opposing team’s power. If you want to survive in the KBO, you need to create more than one strategy, such as raising your fastball, to be prepared.”
Kiwoom Heroes manager Hong Won-ki has a clear message of warning for longtime foreign pitcher Eric Yokishi.
Yokishi is a left-handed foreign pitcher who played in the KBO from the 2019 season until this year. Until last year, his KBO record was 51-33 with a 2.71 ERA in 118 appearances. In particular, he led the league in ERA (2.14) in 2020 and tied for first in wins (16) in 2021, serving as Kiwoom’s ace.
However, Yokishi has been a bit of an up-and-down pitcher this season. As of August 8, he is 5-3 with a 4.39 ERA in 12 games (65.2 innings). In his most recent start against the LG Twins (1-9 KIUM) on June 6, he was unimpressive, allowing six runs on 10 hits and two walks in 4.2 innings.
“If you score the first run in a close game, you’ll be able to concentrate, but yesterday (June 6), he (Yokishi) gave up an early run and I think he lost his concentration,” said Kiwoom manager Hong Won-ki, who met with the team ahead of the 5-5 draw with LG Electronics. If he wants to survive in the KBO, he needs to make more than one strategy, such as raising his restraint, to prepare for the game.”
Hong continued, “(Yokishi) is a groundball-inducing pitcher. If you’ve been doing the same pattern for five years and you’re not getting ground balls and you’re getting hits, there’s a definite problem. If you don’t prepare for it, you won’t survive in the end,” he said.
For Hong, the most important factor in Yokishi’s resurgence was a stable pitch.
“In Gwangju (May 19, when Yokishi was struggling), he gave up eight runs in three innings against the KIA Tigers, and yesterday (May 6), there wasn’t much difference in his delivery. “In the end, I think it’s his velocity,” he said. “When he’s having good luck, the ball is right on the borderline and in the strike zone, but when he’s having bad luck, it’s up the middle.
“Almost all (of Yokishi’s pitches) that he hits well are up the middle. “I don’t think he was deceived,” Hong said, “I think he made the best choice in the end, and it’s just a matter of getting in at the right time. It’s just a matter of whether or not the pitches that I should have pushed harder in the game went in,” he emphasized.
Yokishi was dropped from the first team roster on July 7. However, this was not due to a lack of performance. This season, 메이저놀이터 Kiwoom has been rotating and giving rest to pitchers who are building the starting lineup. Head coach Hong Won-ki hasn’t completely lost faith in Yokishi either.
“(Yokishi) is a very prepared player,” Hong said, adding, “I hope he will prepare well,” and hoping for a resurgence.
Kiwoom is tied for eighth place with KT Wiz (20-2, 30-1) with 22 wins, 1 draw, and 33 losses as of eight games ago, but the starting rotation of Ahn Woo-jin (3-4, 1.87 ERA), Ariel Hurtado (3-7, 3.10 ERA), Choi Won-tae (3-3, 3.12 ERA), and Jung Chan-heon (1-3, 3.58 ERA) is certainly competitive. Add to that Yokishi’s return to form and you have one of the strongest starting rotations in the league.
Will Yokishi be able to refine his pitches and return to the starting rotation as manager Hong Won-ki hopes, which will be essential for Kiwoom’s rebound.