DINOSAURS ADVANCE HALTED AT KS THRESHOLD WEAK EVALUATION OF NC’S FALL DRAMA
The NC Dinosaurs’ unstoppable advance in the Korean Series (KS) came to a halt at the threshold.NC dropped Game 5 of the best-of-three playoffs (PO-5) against KT WIZ on the 5th, losing the series and exiting the fall stage intact.NC had an 88.2% chance of advancing to the KS by winning Games 1 and 2 of the PO, but they couldn’t overcome a fatigue-induced batting slump and bullpen struggles and dropped Games 3-5.Nevertheless, NC’s 2023 season can be considered a year of joy and surprises rather than regrets .NC’s objective situation entering the season was not good .After losing Yang Ji (Doosan Bears) and Noh Jin-hyuk (Lotte Giants) in the free agent market after the 2022 season, the team was widely considered to be weakened.
There was also a string of bad news, as foreign pitcher Taylor Widener was sidelined for nearly two months after the start of the season with a herniated disk, and foreign hitter Jason Martin was de-registered for a month in early April due to an adductor muscle injury .Left-hander extraordinaire Koo Chang-mo, who was highly touted after returning from injury last season, was limited to just 11 games due to muscle damage and a stress fracture, but NC cruised through the 2023 season with an exquisite pitching staff .On the mound, Eric Peddie contributed to the trifecta (wins, ERA, and strikeouts).
With a 20-6 무료슬롯게임 record, 2.00 ERA, and 209 strikeouts, Pedi became the first pitcher in 37 years to achieve the “20 wins + 200 strikeouts” mark since Seon Dong-yeol of the 1986 Hattae Tigers (24 wins, 214 strikeouts).Kim Young-kyu (24 holds, 3.06 ERA), Ryu Jin-wook (22 holds, 2.15 ERA), and Lee Yong-chan (29 saves, 4.13 ERA) also shined in the bullpen .In the batting order, Park Gun-woo, Son As-seob, and Park Min-woo, who rank second through fourth in batting average (over 3,000 at-bats), continued to lead the top lineup. Leadoff hitter Son As-seob won his first career batting title with a .339 batting average along with the most hits (187) this year, but the NC Dinosaurs’ march to the top of the standings began at the end of the regular season when they lost third place to the SSG Landers.
With Pedi sidelined with a right forearm contusion, NC defeated the Doosan Bears and SSG Landers in the Wild Card Decider (WC) and Semi-Playeroffs (SPO), respectively. Each game featured a “crazy player,” including Seo Ho-cheol (a game-winning run in the WC), Kim Sung-wook (a game-winning two-run shot in the first round of the semifinals), Kim Hyung-jun (a wedge solo shot in the second round of the semifinals), and Jason Martin (a game-winning three-pointer in the third round of the semifinals).After reaching the PO, NC took Game 1 with Pedi returning from injury and took Game 2, pushing KT to the brink.
From the fourth game of the 2020 KS to the second game of this year’s PO, NC won nine consecutive postseason (PS) games, tying the record for the longest PS winning streak ever set by the Haetae Tigers in 1987-1988. However, the batting lineup and bullpen rapidly lost their strength as fatigue reached a critical point after a strong run from the end of the regular season. In the end, they were swept by KT.
After falling short on the threshold of the Korean Series, NC head coach Kang In-hwa said in a press conference after the playoffs, “Our players gave their best effort with passion. However, I am disappointed that we were unable to protect our advantage and finish the game. We couldn’t overcome our physical disadvantage,” he reflected. “We were underestimated before the season (as a favorite), but our players came together as a team and played well,” he said, adding that it was a “beautiful challenge.”
Kang, who revealed that he could use ace Pedi as a relief pitcher in Game 5 of the POs, explained the situation by saying, “Pedi tried to move (his body), but he expressed that he felt heavy, so that’s what happened.” “The performance of young future resources such as Kim Hyung-jun, Kim Joo-won, Seo Ho-cheol, and the middle bullpen pitchers was encouraging this year,” Kang said, introducing the goal of focusing on developing domestic starters in the final training. “I’m grateful to Son Ah-seob for guiding the juniors well to learn their passion,” he said, “and pitcher Shin Min-hyuk took a step forward through fall baseball.”