“The director always trusts me.”
NC hit the bottom of the pitching cycle from the end of June. The starting lineup, which had been anxious from the beginning of the season, was the starting point. The bullpen, which was active beyond expectations, was overloaded, and when the flow of the batting line headed to the bottom, the performance fell. They finished 9 consecutive matches in the metropolitan area with 2 wins and 6 losses. In the meantime, the Park Gun-woo incident occurred. Even on the 8th and 9th, they did not get a single point against Samsung, the lowest place, and ended their shocking two-game losing streak.
Such NC took a breather by winning two wins against Lotte, who also had a bad flow in the last three home games in the first half. Thanks to that, we finished the first half with 39 wins, 38 losses and 1 draw, in 4th place. 50% win rate recovered. It once threatened LG and SSG in the second round, but it hurts to fall to the point of only two games ahead of KIA in 6th place. Still, it’s fortunate that I got out of the worst trend.
After all, this year’s NC started without much expectation. In the 2022-2023 free agent market, Yang Eui-ji (Doosan) was taken away, and Drew Luchinski (Oakland Athletics) was lost as a clear 1 starting card for several years. There was also concern about the absence of main infielder Roh Jin-hyeok (Lotte).
Considering the power minus, it was a good first half. On the mound, Eric Pedy completely forgot about Luchinski. He is the best pitcher in the KBO League this season. Although Park Se-hyuk does not stand out in terms of batting, it should be seen that he had a significant impact on the team’s 2nd place in average earned run average (3.67). 4th and 5th starters Shin Min-hyuk and Lee Yong-jun exceeded expectations, and Choi Seong-young also struggled back and forth between the selection and the middle. Ryu Jin-wook, Kim Jin-ho, Kim Si-hoon, Kim Young-kyu, and Lim Jeong-ho showed more than expected in the bullpen. In addition, the injured Gu Chang-mo was in prison.
In the other lineup, Seo Ho-cheol and Do Tae-hun have fully established themselves as new infield drivers. Captain Son Ah-seop and Park Min-woo also played their part. Foreign hitter Jason Martin had a period of injury hiatus and had a lot of ups and downs, but overall he was fine. Kim Joo-won, Yoon Hyung-jun, and Cheon Jae-hwan also showed their full potential in the outfield. Park Geon-woo was the only one in the prison.
In the end, the leadership of coach Kang In-kwon, who united them, stood out. On the 12th, coach Kang In-kwon broke through 100 wins with a victory over Changwon Lotte. 101 wins until the victory on the 13th. Although the performance during the 2022 season as an agent and during the disciplinary period of the former manager was added up, it is proof that he made a soft landing as a command tower anyway.
Coach Kang led the team well with discipline, communication, and trust. Thanks to the know-how of having served as a coach for a long time at Doosan, Hanwha, and NC, I was able to calmly escape the crisis at the end of the first half. The case of Park Kun-woo is a case in which director Kang’s firm leadership was once again proven. Coaches and players cannot play a power game anyway.
After the All-Star break, the most curious thing is, of course, when Park Gun-woo will return. He is a player who must eventually come back and hold the center of the lineup. Also, against Lotte, he won two consecutive wins at the end of the first half, but the instability of the mound still remains. The timing and performance of players who need to return, such as Koo Chang-mo’s rehabilitation, are also checkpoints.
Captain Sohn Ah-seop said,안전놀이터 “Because the coach always trusts the players, he thinks that the players should reciprocate as one now. I sincerely congratulate the coach on his 100th win, and I hope that we will win many victories with him on the field, up to 200 and 300 wins in the future. As a captain, I will give strength to the coach from the side.”
Coach Kang In-kwon said, “I think he was able to win 100 games thanks to the players. He thinks it is more important for the team to play slightly better than winning 100 games. I will do my best to get more victories in the future by gathering well with the players.”