A trusted starting pitcher fell apart.
SSG Landers sent Kim Kwang-hyun to the mound against the NC Dinos in the second round of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Postseason Semifinals at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on Wednesday. Kim gave up four runs on five hits and four walks with one strikeout in three innings. To make matters worse, the callus on his left thumb widened. He was relieved by Moon Seung-won to start the fourth inning.
His total pitch count was 65 (34 strikes). There was a lot of fastballs. He threw a mix of sliders (26), changeups (17), fastballs (15), and curves (7). His fastball topped out at 148 miles per hour.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for SSG, who needed a win in Game 2. SSG dropped a 3-4 decision to NC in Game 1 on April 22 in Incheon. Despite starting pitcher Roenis Elias’ eight innings of four-hit ball (one home run), no walks, six strikeouts and two earned runs on 88 pitches, the offense could not get enough support.
They took the first game of the best-of-five series. Game 3 will be played away from home at Changwon NC Park, the home of NC. Game 4 will also be held in Changwon if the series is decided. In order to reverse the series, SSG needed to win the second game at home to even the series at 1-1, which is where Kim Kwang-hyun came into play.
SSG head coach Kim Won-hyung chose a starting lineup of Choo Shin-soo (designated hitter), Choi Joo-hwan (first base), Choi Jung (third base), Guillermo Heredia (center field), Han Yu-seom (right field), Ha Jae-hoon (left field), Park Sung-sung (shortstop), Kim Sung-hyun (second base), and Kim Min-sik (catcher). Choi Ji-hoon was removed from the roster for Game 1 and Choo Shin-soo was added.
“If (Kim) Kwang-hyun does his job well enough, we can take a day off tomorrow (April 24) and go to Changwon without exhausting our pitching staff,” Kim Won-hyung said.
He also has a backup plan just in case. “Seung-won Moon will be in the bullpen today (23rd) as he was yesterday (22nd). Kirk McCarty will also be waiting in the bullpen,” Kim said. “(Moon) Seung-won is a starter, but his role could grow depending on the situation. If there is a problem in the starting rotation, he will go straight to the bullpen.”
Kim Kwang-hyun was shaky early on. In the top of the first inning, Kim gave up a leadoff single to Son As-seob. After retiring Park Min-woo on four pitches, he gave up a single to left to Park Gun-woo. With runners on first and second, he gave up an RBI single to Jason Martin. The score was 0-1.
The runs kept coming. He gave up a single to Kwon Hee-dong and a sacrifice fly to Seo Ho-cheol in right field. The score was now 0-3. Kim Hyung-joon flied out to left field to end the long first inning.
In the top of the second, Kim Kwang-hyun hit Oh Young-soo to right field and Kim Joo-won to center field. He walked Son Asub and Park Min-woo on five and seven pitches, respectively. With runners on first and second, Park lined a single to right field. It was 0-4. He got Martin to fly out to center field to end the second inning.
In the top of the third, he gave up a straight fly ball to Kwon Hee-dong. After getting Seo Ho-cheol to fly out to left field, he threw a hard-hit ball to Kim Hyung-joon. With runners on first and second, he got Oh Young-soo to fly out to shortstop and Kim Joo-won to ground out to first.
That was it. 굿모닝토토 주소
Moon Seung-won took the mound in the top of the fourth inning after Kim Kwang-hyun. He walked Son Ah-seob to end a seven-pitch at-bat. Park Min-woo struck out swinging on four pitches. Park induced a pitcher’s choice. He threw out Son Ah-seob at second base. Martin followed with a swinging strikeout on five pitches.
“We need to score runs,” the manager emphasized several times before the game. That way, he explained, the pitchers’ shoulders would be lighter. The SSG bats were silent until the third inning. In the bottom of the inning, Choo Shin-soo led off with a walk, but Choi Joo-hwan struck out to end the inning. Choi struck out to end the first inning. In the bottom of the second, leadoff hitter Heredia singled. There was no follow-up hit. In the third inning, Kim Sung-hyun was hit by a pitch and Kim Min-sik was walked, followed by Choo Shin-soo, Choi Ju-hwan, and Choi Jung.
In the fourth inning, they finally scored their first run of the game. After Heredia walked, Han Yoo-seom hit a two-run home run. It was a 2-4 pitch, forcing out opposing starter Song Myung-ki.