What the LG Twins would have done without this foreign player this season. The “undefeated pitcher” who hasn’t lost a single game in 15 starts this season. That man is Adam Plutko (32, USA).안전놀이터
The LG Twins won their 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League home game against the Lotte Giants 9-1 at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on April 24. The win keeps LG in second place in the league with 42 wins, two ties, and 26 losses. Lotte, on the other hand, has 33 wins and 32 losses. They are fourth in the league standings.
On the mound, Plutko pitched six innings of scoreless relief, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out three to earn his 10th win of the season. He threw 83 pitches, showing that he was not overworked with a big lead. He threw 31 fastballs, 22 sliders, 15 cutters, 11 curves, and four changeups, and his fastball touched 147 mph.
Plutko has been an ace for the LG Twins this season, as well as the league. Fellow foreign pitcher Casey Kelly has struggled to start the season. LG has been fortunate to have Plutko step up. It’s no exaggeration to say that LG is in the thick of the race right now because of Plutko’s dominant performance.
Plutko has started 15 games this year, going 10-0 with a 1.66 ERA. In 92 innings pitched this season, he has allowed 75 hits (3 home runs), 21 walks, 72 strikeouts, and 20 runs (17 earned). His WHIP (walks allowed per inning) is 1.04 and his batting average is just .216. He has 12 quality starts (6 innings, 3 earned runs). In the 15 games he has started, the team has won 13, tied 2, and lost just once.
All the metrics are in the upper echelon. With the win, Plutko moved into a tie for the team lead in wins with Pedi (NC-10). She is second in ERA (1.61), second in innings pitched and third in WHIP (walks allowed per inning pitched).
It is the sixth time in KBO history that a starting pitcher has gone 10-0, and the third time by a foreigner. Previously, Jung Min-tae (July 29, 2003 – season finale, 17-2 with a 3.31 ERA), Park Myung-hwan (June 25, 2005 – 11-3 with a 2.96 ERA), Song Eun-beom (June 28, 2009 – 12-3 with a 3.13 ERA), Hector (June 14, 2017 – 20-5 with a 3.48 ERA), and Hurankov (June 15, 2018 – 18-3 with a 3.74 ERA). Plutko joins them as the sixth player (10th if you include saves) to reach the milestone. Three of the previous five (Jung, Hector, and Hurinkov) would go on to win multiple games that year.
After getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first, Plutko gave up a straight fly ball to Han Dong-hee and a double down the left field line to Park Seung-wook to put runners on second and third in the top of the second, but he got Yoo Kang-nam to foul out to shortstop and Kim Min-seok to fly out to right field to end the inning. In the third inning, Yoon gave up a single to right-center field to Dong-hee Yoon, but struck out Rex and got Jun-woo Jeon to fly out to third base.
After giving up a double to Han Dong-hee in the top of the fourth, Plutko got Park Seung-wook to ground out to first and Yoo Kang-nam to fly out to center. The fifth inning was a triple play. In the sixth, he gave up a leadoff walk to Rex, but induced infield grounders to Jeon Jun-woo and Lee Hak-joo, and then stopped Lee Hak-joo from advancing to second on a wild pitch to end his day.
After the game, Plutko said, “It’s kind of humbling to get that (10-win) record. I’m glad the team got the win again today. I’m grateful to everyone in the organization for making it possible for me to pitch. I feel lucky to be playing for the LG Twins,” he said.
“It was hot out there today. I tried to pitch aggressively to keep the batters in the dugout as much as possible, with long pitches for offense and short pitches for defense. I don’t know if it was because of that, but there were a lot of in-play hits and the batters scored runs,” he said, giving credit to his teammates.
In conclusion, he thanked Moon Bo-kyung’s catch of a line drive during the game (Jeon Jun-woo in the bottom of the third inning for Lotte) and Park Dong-won’s catch of a runner at second base after a block in the last inning (Lee Hak-joo in the sixth) for saving the day. “It was hard for me to pitch in the first game of the summer, but I want to say thank you to the fans, who must have been equally hard in the hot weather,” he said, looking forward to his next pitch.
LG head coach Yeom Kyung-yeop also praised Plutko’s pitching. “Plutko pitched perfectly as a pillar of the starting lineup. I want to congratulate him on his 10 wins.” He applauded.
It was January last year. After signing with LG, Plutko made headlines when he shared a photo of himself waving the Korean flag with his family. “I wanted to show my family and friends and Korean fans how happy me and my family are,” he said at the time. “My wife ordered the flag, my son waved it and took pictures, and it was a lot of fun.” Now, Plutko has become an “irreplaceable” resource for the LG Twins and a favorite of many LG fans.