‘Hidden Card’ Kim Min-hyuk overcomes injury to tie the game
KT WIZ manager Lee Kang-cheol said this when asked about Kang Baek-ho, who was sidelined with a torn side muscle ahead of the KBO Playoffs (PO) against the NC Dinos.
Lee expressed more disappointment over not being able to use main outfielder Kim Min-hyuk as a starter than Kang Baek-ho’s season-long absence, as Kim can only be used as a pinch hitter after injuring his thigh muscle during a game in September.
There was a reason. Kim Min-hyuk was strong in the regular season this year against the likes of NC starters Shin Min-hyuk (.364) and Tanner Tully (.333) and key bullpen man Ryu Jin-wook (1.000).
The KT batting order is mostly right-handed, and the NC bullpen is predominantly right-handed, so the left-handed Min-hyuk was essential.
Lee Kang-cheol was even more disappointed because Kim Min-hyuk was impressive in every important game of the regular season.
Much to Lee’s disappointment, Kim did his part in the NC and PO.
He produced a hit and a walk as a pinch hitter in the first game on the 30th and second game on the 31st of last month, respectively, and also drew a walk as a pinch hitter in the fourth game on the 3rd.
‘Hidden Card’ Kim Min-hyuk exploded again in Game 5 of the NC and PO at Katie Weeds Park in Suwon on the 5th.
Trailing 0-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning, he pinch-hit for Oh Yoon-seok with runners on first and third and took advantage of opposing starter Shin Min-hyuk, who had previously thrown a no-hitter.
Shin worked a full count by throwing five straight pitches, including his main weapon, a change-up that fell just outside the left-field line.
Shin threw another changeup, and Kim didn’t miss it.
He swung wildly and hit a timely two-run double to the right of the right-field fence.
It was a celestial hit that tied the game.
Gritting his teeth, Kim Min-hyuk reached second base and immediately pumped his fist to express his joy.
KT turned the tide of the game back in their favour with Kim Min-hyuk’s ‘one hit’.
Stepping on the stepping stone laid by Kim Min-hyuk, KT managed to come back in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat NC 3-2 and punch their ticket to the Korean Series.
Kim Min-hyuk was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of Game 5 of the PO and received a cash prize of 1 million won.
“The manager and hitting coach (Kim Kang) told me to prepare early, so I went in with batting practice at the indoor training centre, and I think it led to a good result,” he said after the game.
“I thought my body would recover in the postseason, but after a medical examination, I was diagnosed with a bad condition,” he said, adding, “I thought my batting would be fine even if my body was bad, so I trained intensively.”
“Running is 60 per cent painful, but there is no problem with hitting,” he said, vowing to lead the Korean Series. 먹튀검증