“I looked at the data, and I thought that if I targeted that area, I would get good results, and fortunately, I’m getting the results I expected.”
The pitcher-hitter matchup is like a chess match. Strong pitches are important, but understanding your opponent’s intentions and exploiting their weaknesses will win you the game. This is how LG’s winning icon Adam Plutko, 33, has been pitching this season. He doesn’t have a 150-kilometer fastball, but he uses finesse and his own weapons to win.
Plutko pitched a perfect game against Lotte in Jamsil on April 1, throwing 92 pitches for seven innings of four-hit, six-strikeout, zero-walk baseball. LG went on to win 6-1 behind Plutko’s strong performance, giving him his eighth win of the season. He is tied for first in wins and is undefeated this season. The team has won 11 straight games since Aug. 28 against Jamsil Kiwoom last year.메이저놀이터
The pitch is similar and different from last year, his first year in the KBO. A four-seam fastball with excellent vertical movement at high revs. And the elaborate corner work is similar. However, the pitch mix is somewhat different. He’s dropped the curveball that he’s used as a deciding pitch. Instead, it’s more of a cut fastball and slider.
He used to use a four-seam at the top of the strike zone, but this season he throws a cut-fastball. If a batter swings at a fastball thinking it’s a four-seam, it will curve and become a hit. He’s gotten a lot of swings and misses, and he’s gotten extremely efficient. More innings this season than last (5.8 average in 2022 – 6.1 average in 2023). He threw fewer pitches (15.9 per inning in 2022, 15.6 per inning in 2023).
It didn’t just happen. As always, he studied his pitches, consulted with others, and found new answers. “I looked at the data,” Plutko said after Day 1, referring to his cut-past-the-top-of-the-strike zone pitches, which are rare in the KBO. I looked at the batting average in each zone. I realized that if I threw a cutter at the top of the zone, I would get good results if I targeted that area. Fortunately, I’m getting the results I was hoping for.”
He added, “I’m not a pitcher like Jung Woo-young. He can just throw it and get it in the zone and hitters are scared. I have to do the opposite. I have to analyze each hitter and attack their weaknesses. My strategy against lefties this season was a high cutter. I have confidence in it, so I’ve been throwing it high and away.”
He also explained why he’s been relying less on his curveball. “My curveball is not as good this season as it was last year,” Plutko said. So I’ve been working on my slider and cutter more. I also received a lot of help from coaches Kim Kyung-tae and Kim Kwang-sam in this regard,” he said.
He is also working on his newest pitch, a sweeper. On his slider, which has more lateral movement than last year’s, Plutko said, “It was early June last year. I was really unhappy with my slider, so when I was pitching out of the bullpen, I focused on my slider, and that’s how I got the movement I have now. Now I’m adding some lateral movement to my slider,” he explained.
He’s always studying and preparing. And he’s always humble. “My wife and I talk a lot about life in Korea,” Plutko said. I was a starting pitcher whose career was in jeopardy before I came to Korea. “The reason I always win is because I’m playing for a really good team,” he said, “and I’m getting a lot of support. I’m always grateful to LG, the coaching staff, my teammates, and the fans. I always go to the mound with a grateful heart,” he smiled.
Finally, when asked about his ultimate goal, Plutko said, “Winning the Korean Series. “We haven’t won the Korean Series since 1994. Our LG fans deserve to feel the joy of winning the Korean Series now. I really want to win the title.”