“I feel like I’m really going crazy. I can’t sleep and no matter what I eat, I don’t feel like I’m eating. I feel like I’m in that state.”
On the 23rd, ahead of the second game of the semi-playoffs, NC Dinos coach Kang In-kwon met with reporters and confessed his feelings. Although he has experienced the postseason as a coach, this is Coach Kang’s first postseason since he began his coaching career. That’s how much I was worried.
However, contrary to the head coach’s worries, NC this fall confirmed its advancement to the playoffs by winning four consecutive games, from the wild card game against the Doosan Bears on the 19th to the third game of the semi-playoffs against SSG Landers on the 25th.
They produced the best results even in the absence of Koo Chang-mo, who was injured again after returning at the end of the season, and ‘ace’ Eric Peddy, who had to rest after being hit by a hard ball in his last appearance in the regular season.
There are a total of three pitchers who have been on the starting mound for the past four games, including Tanner Turley, who was responsible for the wild card game and the third game of the semi-playoffs, and Shin Min-hyuk and Song Myung-ki, who were responsible for starting the first and second games of the semi-playoffs. On the surface, there was no pitcher to play a central role in the starting lineup, so how did NC not give up a single game?
The answer lies in the timing of pitcher replacement.
Going back to the wild card game, NC left only 4 innings to starter Tanner and activated the bullpen from the middle of the game. Lee Jae-hak, Kim Young-gyu, Ryu Jin-wook, Lim Jeong-ho, and Lee Yong-chan pulled out all the cards they could to win. Due to the nature of the wild card game, the 4th place team had a greater advantage over the 5th place team in the regular season, but NC did not consider a scenario where it would go to the second game. Concentrating effort to win the first game led to good results.
This bullpen operation continued in the semi-playoffs. Shin Min-hyuk, who was pitching well in the first game of the semi-playoffs, was replaced with 2 outs in the bottom of the 6th inning, and Kim Young-gyu, who came in later, blocked SSG’s batting line by pitching 1⅓ innings without allowing any runs or hits or walks. In addition, NC showed its will to win by hiring Ryu Jin-wook and Lee Yong-chan from the first game of the series.
It was in games 2 and 3 that the timing of the NC bench replacement was more outstanding. Before Game 2, manager Kang In-kwon said of starting pitcher Song Myeong-ki, “I would really appreciate it if he threw as long as possible, but since there was always a difficult time after the batting order went around once, I will try to think about the timing of replacing the pitcher in (the opposing hitters’) second at-bat. “It was analyzed.
As Coach Kang said, Song Myung-ki continued his scoreless streak for three consecutive innings starting from the first inning of the game, and then allowed a two-run gun to Hanyu Island in the bottom of the fourth inning, allowing his first run. The NC bullpen was already ready. In the end, NC called Choi Seong-young right after the home run, and the second pitcher, Choi Seong-young, pitched well in 1⅔ innings, allowing 1 hit, 3 strikeouts, and no runs. Afterwards, Lee Jae-hak, Kim Young-gyu, Ryu Jin-wook, and Lee Yong-chan also concluded the game in a similar flow to the previous game.
In Game 3, the bench’s decision was also important. Starting pitcher Tanner contributed a large number of runs, including Choi Jeong’s grand slam in the top of the second inning, and Jaehak Lee was brought in ahead of the top of the third inning. Jae-Hak Lee allowed only 1 run in 2⅔ innings, and Young-Kyu Kim, Jin-Wook Ryu, Jeong-Ho Lim, and Yong-Chan Lee prevented SSG from pursuing for the remaining innings.
As a result, since the start of the postseason, there has not been a single game in which the NC starters lasted more than 6 innings, but they did not lose the flow to the opponent by boldly choosing a replacement timing in a short game where the importance of one win was more emphasized. The bench, who had the decision-making power, was just as important as the pitchers who lived up to the coaching staff’s expectations.메이저놀이터
NC, which advanced to the playoffs in 4 games, is preparing for the playoffs by taking a break starting on the 26th. Peddie, who was unable to pitch in the previous series due to injury, is scheduled to start as a starter in Game 1 as usual if there are no health problems. This season, their record against KT Wiz was inferior to KT Wiz with 6 wins and 10 losses, but NC has plenty to look forward to.
Since the 10-team system in 2015, Doosan in 2021 is the only case of a 4th place team in the regular season advancing to the Korean Series. Attention is being paid to whether NC, which is dominating the fall with flexible mound management, will overcome the KT Wiz and head to the Korean Series.