Last season’s winning percentage king, Uhm Sang-baek, is starting to get a grip.

KT Wiz’s Uhm Sang-baek started the sixth game of the season against the Kiwoom Heroes of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on April 25안전놀이터.

In six games this season, Uhm is 2-3 with a 3.48 ERA. While he had a decent 0.53 ERA in three games in April, his ERA in May was 7.07, but he still managed to snap a three-game losing streak with a five-inning, one-run performance against the Doosan Bears in Jamsil on May 1.

Uhm Sang-baek has gotten the hang of it. Photo by Kim Young-gu
He appeared once against Kiwoom this season. On April 25, he pitched five innings against Gochuk, giving up one run on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts, but was unable to get enough support from his bats.

He threw 26 pitches in the first inning, which was a bit high, but he didn’t give up a run. After getting Lee Jung-hoo to fly out to left field and Lim Ji-yeol to strike out on a wild pitch, he gave up a single to Kim Hye-sung to right, but struck out Edison Russell on a wild pitch.

He needed just six pitches to get through the second inning. He got Lee Won-seok to ground out to third, Lee Hyung-jong to fly out to left, and Kim Hwi-jip to fly out to center. The third inning was also clean. They struck out Song Sung-moon on three pitches and got both Kim Dong-heon and Lee Jung-hoo to ground out.

The fourth inning was no different. After getting Lim Ji-yeol to ground out, he gave up a single to Kim Hye-sung, but got Russell to foul out and Lee Won-seok to fly out to right field.

Uhm continued to pitch well. In the fifth inning, he struck out the leadoff batter, Lee Hyung-jong, on a wild pitch. He grounded Kim Hui-jip to second and Song Sung-moon to the right fielder. The fifth inning was uneventful.

Uhm Sang-baek, who hadn’t allowed a single hit through five innings, gave up his first walk in the top of the sixth. After walking Kim Dong-heon and Lee Jung-hoo, he gave up a single to Lim Ji-yeol, but no runs. Kim Hye-seong flied out to center field.

Photo by Kim Young-gu
Uhm Sang-baek came up in the seventh inning. He gave up a single to Russell, the leadoff hitter. It was his first leadoff walk. He then gave up a single to Lee Won-seok, putting runners on first and second with nobody out.

That was it for Uhm. He handed the ball over to Young-hyun Park. Park Young-hyun did not allow the runners to score. Lee Hyung-jong induced a double play at the plate and Kim Hwi-jip grounded out. Uhm did not allow a run.

Uhm finished the day with six innings of four-hit ball, one walk and four strikeouts. The team won 3-0 and Uhm improved to 3-0 on the season. Of his 88 pitches on the day, 57 were changeups. There were 23 fastballs, six sliders, and two cutters. His fastball topped out at 150 mph.

He tasted the bitter taste of defeat in early May when he gave up five runs in two consecutive games, but he started to find his groove in his last outing. His ERA also broke into the double digits (2.92).

KT manager Lee Kang-cheol said, “Uhm Sang-baek did a good job with his first-pitch strikes. He pitched well with good control of his strength and weakness.”

After the game, Uhm said, “I will rebound from now on. We have to play KT baseball from now on. I’m determined to win a lot of games like today, where the starting pitching is strong and the bullpen is strong.”

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