The KT Wiz have stumbled out of the gates early on, bringing a 1-4 record into today's tilt with the juggernaut NC Dinos, and a major part of the problem has been an unreliable bullpen. A bloated 8.25 ERA through five games is an undeniable red flag that something is very, very wrong.
Things got even bleaker moments ago as KT allowed the Dinos to author a comeback victory thanks to an inability to finish strong.
Closer Rhee Dae-eun put forth his second consecutive disappointing outing, surrendering a two-out, game-tying dinger for yet another blown save opportunity. Through four games, the righty has struggled with his command and has a 10.39 ERA to show for it.
Ryu Hee Woon helpfully came on and allowed a walk-off homer to the first batter he faced.
Problems with the unit emerged immediately this year. On Opening Day, the Wiz carried a 2-1 lead into the seventh before relievers Jae Yun Kim and Lee Sang-Hwa each surrendered three runs. That was the first time a stellar start from Odrisamer Despaigne was wasted, the second coming today. At this point, he must be wondering what he has to do to get a win.
A similar meltdown allowed Lotte to sweep the series two days later. All told, the Wiz' problematic pen has fumbled away potentially four wins. As a result, KT is in the KBO cellar.
All caveats here. There's plenty of ball left to play. Manager Kim Jin-wook always has a few tricks up his sleeve. And bullpen problems are just part of the league's DNA, or so it seems.
But, man. It's starting to feel like Groundhog Day for loyal Wiz fans who have spent an entire week living and dying with the team. At a time when everything else feels like Groundhog Day, too.
A cooler head will tell those people not to panic, yet it's definitely time to start asking questions about a roster hole in desperate need of repair.