Lotte Giants foreign pitcher Aaron Wilkerson (34) gave SSG Landers another nightmare.
Wilkerson took the mound against SSG in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on April 24, throwing 106 pitches for six innings of three hits, three walks, seven strikeouts, and one run in a quality start (QS – pitching at least six innings and giving up three earned runs or less) to lead the Giants to an 8-1 victory. Seventh-ranked Lotte recorded its 60th win of the season (67-67, .472 winning percentage) to keep its postseason (PS) hopes alive.
Wilkerson pitched a dominant game. He was aggressive with a 66% strikeout rate. His fastball (38) topped out at 148 mph and his cutter (28), which stretched and curved like a fastball, was powerful. A 144 mph cutter to leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo in the first inning was read and led to a home run, but Wilkerson settled in after that with a mix of curveballs (11), sliders (18), and changeups (11).
Wilkerson is a nightmare for SSG, which is why SSG manager Kim Won-hyung jokingly said before the game, “I hope he gets off in the right spot.” In their first meeting this season, Wilkerson led the team to a no-hitter with a seven-inning no-hitter against Sasik on March 6. Ten days later in Sajik, SSG scored the first run against Wilkerson, but only two of the four runs he allowed in 5.2 innings were earned.
It was a pitch that gave Lotte hope. Wilkerson had started 11 games this season, going 5-2 with a 1.89 ERA. Lotte narrowed the gap between Wilkerson’s appearances in an effort to keep their hopes of advancing to the PS alive by using a pitcher in good form for at least one more start, and he hasn’t disappointed. Despite being brought in mid-season as a replacement foreign pitcher for Dan Straily in July, he has exceeded the $350,000 maximum that Lotte agreed to pay him, both in terms of league adaptation and performance. 메이저사이트
The batting lineup has also stepped up to support Wilkerson. Son Sung-bin tied the game in the top of the second inning with an RBI single to left field with runners on first and second, and tied the game in the top of the fourth inning with an RBI single to right field with runners on first and second. Lotte then took advantage of a fielding error by SSG to add another run and widen the gap. With the lead in hand, Lotte added two more runs in the top of the fifth inning, including a mid-month home run by leadoff hitter Han Dong-hee. Lotte, which dropped three straight series to SSG earlier this season, has now won two straight series since sweeping the three-game series in Sajik from May 15-17.