Cardinals' Oh Seung-hwan to get save opportunities following closer's injury

By Yonhap
  • Published : Aug 18, 2017 - 10:00
  • Updated : Aug 18, 2017 - 10:00

St. Louis Cardinals reliever Oh Seung-hwan is expected to get more save opportunities following an injury to the club's incumbent closer.

The South Korean right-hander, who started the season as the closer but was removed from the role last month, could be back in his old job after Trevor Rosenthal was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right posterior elbow irritation Thursday (local time).

Rosenthal left Wednesday's 5-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox early. He'd converted seven consecutive save chances before his velocity dipped noticeably.

In this Associated Press file photo taken Aug. 10, 2017, Oh Seung-hwan of the St. Louis Cardinals walks off the field during the eighth inning of a game against the Kansas City Royals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. (Yonhap)

Oh got his last save opportunity July 8. Since then, he's pitched mostly in seventh or eighth innings, picking up six holds and posting a 3.18 ERA in the process.

For the year, Oh is 1-5 with 18 saves and a 3.46 ERA. He has struck out 51 in 52 innings.

Oh is the career saves leader in the Korea Baseball Organization. He also had a two-year stint in Japan before joining the Cardinals for the 2016 season. Last year, Oh started out as a setup man and took over from Rosenthal, who was going through a dismal season. Oh ended up converting 19 of 23 save opportunities, with a 6-3 record and a 1.92 ERA. He fanned 103 batters in 79 2/3 innings.

Oh has allowed eight homers this year, compared with five last season. His strikeout rate has dipped significantly, while his walk rate has gone up. Opponents are slugging at a .433 clip off Oh in 2017, compared with .269 last year.

Oh's sliders haven't been as sharp as they were a year ago. In June this year, when he allowed seven earned runs in 11 innings while losing two games, Oh showed just a 7 percent whiff rate (swinging strikes per swing) on his sliders. In June a year ago, the whiff rate on his sliders was 35 percent. (Yonhap)