SSG Landers’ Jinyong Seo’s quest for history is over. Seo entered the game in the top of the ninth inning with a 5-4 lead against the Doosan Bears at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on April 27 and allowed two hits and a sacrifice fly to tie the game. It was the first time he failed in his 35th save opportunity this season.

안전놀이터Prior to this, Seo was 2-2 with a 2.34 ERA and 34 saves in 50 appearances. His 1.40 ERA was excellent, but not “flawless”. As of the 26th, his walks allowed per inning (WHIP) was 1.48. He was consistently leaving runners on base. Compared to other top closers like Kim Jae-yoon (KT Wiz – 0.91) and Kim Won-joong (Lotte Giants – 1.19) in the same period, it was less reliable.

The 27th game was no different. In the ninth inning, Seo gave up back-to-back singles to Jung Soo-bin and Kim Jae-ho to load the bases. Up until this point, he had escaped the situation by inducing a double play, but on this occasion, he gave up a sacrifice fly to Jose Rojas to tie the game. The team scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning, and Seo got the final out of the inning. His final line on the day was two innings and one run. He picked up his third win of the season, his first blown save.

SSG’s Seo Jin-yong. Photo by Yonhap

As of Aug. 28, Seo is still nine saves behind the second-place finisher. Barring any upsets, he will win the title. However, the 27th’s blown save also ended his bid to become the first ever ‘0-blown save king’.

Since the KBO started keeping track of blown saves in 2006, there have been one-blown saves by Oh Seung-hwan (2011-2012-2021) and Ha Jae-hoon (SSG-2019), but there hasn’t been a zero-blown save by anyone. In 2021, Cho Sang-woo (Kiwoom Heroes) was the only one to record double-digit saves (15) without a blown save.

Seo Jin-yong celebrates with catcher Kim Min-sik (left) after the game. Photo by Jung Si-jong

But the blown saves don’t diminish Seo’s contributions. SSG’s two-for-two performance this season hasn’t even come close to last year’s, and the reason they’re still fighting for the lead in the second half of the season is due to the number of wins Seo has secured. Not to mention his 34 saves and three relief wins. In terms of Wins Above Replacement (WAR) for the season, Seo stands at 2.02 (second in saves) and 3.77 (first in saves) according to Sports2eye.

SSG manager Kim Won-hyung, a former pitcher himself, said, “Jinyong threw his first blown save of the season today, but he’s been doing so well. He pitched two innings today (July 27) and made a big contribution to the win. He really worked hard.”

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