The root cause of the NC’s rapid June decline was the collapse of their starting line-up. Homegrown ace Koo Chang-mo went down with a stress fracture, and Shin Min-hyuk-Song Myung-ki, who had been picked to start 4-5 a season ago, struggled. Substitute starters Choi Sung-young and Lee Jae-hak managed to hold on, but they were hit by balls in succession just two days apart on 20 and 22 June, and there were no more answers. It was a vicious cycle of starting pitchers going down early→bullpen overload→late-game comeback losses. Coming down to the batting cycle, NC went 4-11 in its final 15 games of the first half, last in the division.
As of the 19th, two days before the start of the second half, NC is fourth in the league with 39 wins and 38 losses. They are now 2.5 games behind third-placed Doosan, and the momentum of the teams below them is frightening. They are two games behind sixth-placed KIA and 2.5 games behind seventh-placed KT. One wrong step and they could be right below the autumn baseball cutoff.
We need our starting pitchers to return from injury. Of the three, Choi Sung-young has been the fastest to recover from an orbital fracture. He was fortunate to avoid surgery and was cleared to resume workouts on the 17th. There are hopes that he could return as early as August.
The timing of Choi’s comeback can be gauged from precedent. Doosan’s Kim Myung-shin, who was hit in the face like Choi in 2017, returned to the first team after 88 days. Ryan Yarbrough (Kansas City), who was recently hit in the face with a 170km/h pitch in the major leagues, made a start on the 10th, two months after his injury, and pitched six innings of one-run ball.바카라사이트
Koo Chang-mo and Lee Jae-hak will continue their rehabilitation after being re-examined on the 21st. It is not yet known when they will return.
The delay in Koo Chang-mo’s return is a concern. When Koo was sidelined with the injury, NC head coach Kang In-hwa predicted that he could return before the All-Star break. However, a medical examination at the end of last month revealed a stress fracture, and he was ruled out for the first half of the season.
The impact of a homegrown ace in the KBO is immeasurable. He is one of the best pitchers in the league when healthy, but he hasn’t been able to stay that way. His health is a crucial variable, not only for the team’s performance in the second half of the season, but also for NC’s future. Last year, Koo signed a 6+1 year, 13.2 billion won non-free agent contract with the NC. This year is the first season. If Koo’s recovery is delayed, the Hangzhou Asian Games will have to be re-designed.