Dinosaur Corps, which has reached its physical limit, to make matters worse, is uncertain to play in Game 5 of Super Ace
It seemed so hard. The batters’ swings were clearly slowing down, and the pitches they were hitting were coming up short and getting sucked into the gloves of the opposing fielders. This is the story of the NC Dinos, who had a strong start to the fall baseball season, but their physical strength reached its limit and they lost two straight games.굿모닝토토 도메인
While starting pitchers Song Myung-ki (4 runs in 1.1 innings) and Lee Jae-hak (4 runs in 2.1 innings) were shaky, a lackluster offense also played a role in the loss. The NC offense was unable to generate a single hit or a walk until Son Ah-seop singled up the middle with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. The only other batter to reach base until the fifth inning was Son, who took advantage of a throwing error by KT third baseman Hwang Jae-gyun after hitting a grounder in the first inning.
While Lee Jun-ho (1.1 scoreless innings), Lee Yong-joon (3 runs in 3 innings), and Kim Si-hoon (1 scoreless inning) were on the mound to keep the bullpen from running out of gas, the NC bats only managed to score two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on Park Se-hyuk’s RBI single to left and Son As-seob’s RBI single to left. NC had to face a heartbreaking defeat.
The poor performance of the NC batting lineup is not surprising. The team had been in a fierce battle for third place with the SSG Landers since the end of the regular season. They attacked with all their might in every game, and fall baseball continued without a break. “We’ve actually been playing the postseason for a month,” sighs NC head coach Kang In-hwa.
The team defeated the No. 5 Doosan Bears and No. 3 SSG in the wild card and semi-finals, respectively, and won the first and second rounds of the playoffs in enemy territory. However, the players’ physical strength was slowly depleting. The fatigue of a single fall baseball game is incomparably greater than that of a regular league game.
The NC’s fitness problems became even more pronounced when they lost the third game 0-3. Up until that point, the team had been able to forget about this due to their successive victories, but the moment they suffered their first loss, the extreme fatigue began to wake up and catch up with them.
In the fourth game, it was evident that the players were tired. The batters swung their bats a beat too slow for the hard-hitting fastballs of opposing starter William Cuevas, and in the top of the third inning, Oh Yoon-seok’s poor defense led to runners on first and second with no outs.
The challenge now is the Game 5 at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on Friday with one day off. With the team expected to struggle with their low stamina, it’s unclear if right-handed foreign pitcher Eric Peddy will start. He’s still not at 100 percent.
With a 20-6 record, 209 strikeouts and a 2.00 ERA in 30 games (180.1 innings) in the regular season, Pedi is a super ace who has summoned legendary former manager Sun Dong-yeol several times this year. Most notably, he became the first pitcher in 37 years and the fifth in his career (Jang Myung-bu – Sammi Superstars – 30 wins and 220 strikeouts in 1983, Choi Dong-won – Lotte Giants – 27 wins and 223 strikeouts in 1984, Kim Si-jin – Samsung Lions – 25 wins and 201 strikeouts in 1985, and Sun Dong-yeol – 1986) to reach 20 wins and 200 strikeouts in a season.
He also achieved the Triple Crown feat, ranking first in wins, ERA, and strikeouts. This was a feat previously accomplished only by Sun Dong-yeol (Haetae-1986, 1989-1991), Ryu Hyun-jin (Hanwha Eagles-2006), and Yoon Seok-min (KIA Tigers-2011).
However, the regular season didn’t end well. He was hit in the right forearm by a pitch from Ko Jong-wook against the Gwangju KIA Tigers on March 16. He returned for the first round of the playoffs against KT and pitched six innings of three-hit ball, allowing one run on one hit and one walk with 12 strikeouts in NC’s 9-5 win, but he was reportedly still not fully healthy.
When asked about his Game 5 starter after Game 4 of the playoffs, manager Kang Myung-ho said, “Pedi’s not 100 percent. I’m thinking about it. Shin Min-hyuk is not bad either. I’ll check their physical condition tomorrow (April 4) morning and decide.”
Shin Min-hyuk, who went 5-5 with a 3.98 ERA in the regular season, is a right-hander who has shown improvement in his two appearances in fall ball, going 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA (12 scoreless innings). He’s still an attractive card, but he doesn’t carry the same weight as Pedi.
The NCs have already earned plenty of applause this fall for their dazzling performances and fighting spirit. Will they be able to overcome these adversities and write their own story and end the ‘autumn fairy tale’ in the Korean Series?