“The end of the season was very disappointing”
“The end of the season was very disappointing,” said NC Dinos closer Lee Yong-chan, 35, as he reflected on the 2023 season. However, he did not hide his pride in reaching the 500-game milestone.
In an interview at the Changwon NC Park after the New Year’s meeting held at the Olympic Memorial National Life Center at Masan Sports Complex in Changwon on the 8th, Yong-chan said, “My physical strength dropped a lot at the end of the 2023 season. I was disappointed that the process at the end of the season was not good,” he said, adding, “I was disappointed that the team lost three straight games in the playoffs after winning two in a row and was eliminated.”
The team had to prepare for the season earlier than usual after being selected for the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March last year, and the absence of Kim Young-kyu, a key part of the pitching staff, for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games in September added to the pressure.
“I think the early preparation for the WBC contributed to the decline in fitness at the end of the season,” Yong-chan said. “In the second half of the season, me, 바카라사이트 (Kim) Young-kyu, and (Ryu) Jin-wook were responsible for the seventh through ninth innings, but we had to share the duties as Young-kyu competed in the Asian Games.”
After a shaky start to the season,
With a 6.35 ERA in 11 games in the month of April, Lee settled down in the second half. In July, he appeared in seven games, going 1-1 with two saves and a 2.45 ERA, and in August, he pitched 11 innings in 10 games with six saves and a 1.64 ERA.
However, he struggled in September. He collected 10 saves in 17 games, but his ERA reached 5.63.
The fallout continued into the postseason.
After finishing fourth in the regular season, the NC advanced to the playoffs with a four-game sweep in the wild-card decider against the Doosan Bears and a semifinal against the SSG Landers.
In the playoffs against the KT Wiz, they won games one and two, but the team’s overall health declined, and they lost three straight games and were eliminated. The bullpen was particularly shaky.
“We didn’t play well in the first half, and we struggled to get back on track in the second half,” said Lee Yong-chan. However, after giving up three runs in the SSG game on October 8, I felt like the tower had collapsed,” he recalled, “and the decline in my physical strength loomed large after that.”
This year, Yong-chan plans to prepare more slowly than last year, saying, “I’m going to delay throwing the ball. I’ve been working out steadily, but I haven’t thrown a ball yet,” he said. “I plan to throw a lot of bullpen pitches in the spring training in Arizona, USA, like last year, but I plan to delay it.”
Despite the disappointment, it’s still nice to reach 500 career appearances.
It’s especially meaningful for Yong-chan, who has had two elbow bone chip surgeries and underwent elbow ligament reconstruction (Tommy John surgery) in June 2020. He also changed jobs frequently.
Yong-chan said, “500 career appearances is a very meaningful record. I think I would have reached it sooner if I hadn’t been a starting pitcher. I had a lot of surgeries and rehabilitation, but I’m proud to have reached 500 games,” he smiled.
NC needs to reorganize its homegrown starting rotation after homegrown left-handed ace Koo Chang-mo joined the military. NC manager Kang Myung-ho expressed his intention to bring as many starters as possible to spring training to get a first-hand look.
“I don’t want to change positions,” said Lee Yong-chan, who has starting experience.
“When I came to NC, I was signed as a starter, but the previous manager asked me to be the closer. I said I would do whatever they asked me to do, but I didn’t want to change my position,” he said. “I think I strained my arm because I changed positions a lot, and I had surgery. I don’t have a particular desire to be a starter,” he said.
The 2024 season will see a significant change in the closer competition.
Go Woo-seok, who was the closer for the LG Twins, left for the major leagues after signing with the San Diego Padres. Kim Jae-yoon, 토토사이트 순위 who was the closer for last year’s regular-season runner-up KT Wiz, became a free agent and moved to the Samsung Lions.
“Saves are an immeasurable record,” Yong-chan said. Even if you aim for 30 saves, you can’t do it if your team loses. You never know what the competition for closers will be like this year,” he said.
“I’m just trying to get out of the situation I’m in and not give up any runs. The success rate is more important than how many saves I make,” he said, emphasizing that he wants to improve his success rate and improve his detailed record.