Shaky Finishes, “No Replacement?” Grit or grim reality?
“There will be no substitutions.”
NC Dinos head coach Kang Myung-ho reiterated his faith in closer Lee Yong-chan.
NC lost the third game of the playoffs against KT Wiz 3-0 at Changwon NC Park on April 2. NC came home after taking both games in Suwon. A win in Game 3 would have given them four days off and a chance to play the LG Twins in the Korean Series, but KT rallied back and pushed their chances of clinching a spot in the Korean Series to Game 4. NC’s streak of nine consecutive postseason wins, dating back to the 2020 Korean Series, also came to a halt, one step shy of a new record of 10.
NC was on a scary upswing this fall, winning six straight games before losing to KT.
But there was a disturbing factor. Finisher Lee Yong-chan. He had been out of shape since the end of the regular season and hasn’t been able to find his stride in fall baseball. Thankfully, 먹튀검증 the team managed to hold on to the lead and win.
In the ninth inning of the first game against KT, he was hit by a grand slam. Thank goodness it was a big hit.
The second game was more anxious.
I came on in the eighth inning and gave up a single to Kim Sang-soo. In the bottom of the ninth, with a 3-2 lead, I put runners on first and third with no outs. Although he managed to get out of the ninth without allowing a run, it was clear that Yong-chan was not in top form.
“I don’t have any cards other than Yong-chan in the ninth,” Kang said when asked about Yong-chan before Game 3.
Still, NC lacks a reliable bullpen outside of Ryu Jin-wook and Kim Young-gyu. The two pitchers are also getting tired. Kim Young-gyu was pulled from the game two plan due to a drop in velocity. He also gave up the decisive blast to Moon Sang-chul in the seventh inning. It’s pointless to change the closer without someone to close the seventh and eighth innings.
Kang continued, “There are no closers. The pitching is fine. My pitching data is all normal. I think my confidence is down because of the bad result. It’s possible that he’s developing a habit in his pitching motion. We are looking for the cause with the power analysis team.” In baseball, there is a Japanese expression called kusei. When a pitcher makes a certain motion when throwing the ball, it gives the batter an advantage because the opponent can recognize the type of pitch. I’ve heard opponents say that they caught Yongchan’s “kusei” when he was struggling at the end of the regular season.
Kang says he doesn’t have anything specific to say about Yoo. After all, if NC is to advance to the Korean Series, Yong-chan will have to protect the mound in the final game. It will be interesting to see if Yong-chan can repay Kang’s efforts.