Growing pains for NC right-hander Young Gun, who gave up four runs in five innings against Doosan Future
NC Dinos right-hander Young-gun Yong-jun is currently experiencing growing pains.바카라
After turning pro in 2021 and failing to win a game until last year, Yoo impressed early this year. With a string of strong performances, he solidified his place in the starting lineup. His ERA in April was just 1.14, and he went 2-0 in the period. His performance helped NC stay in the mid-table race.
However, Yoo suffered growing pains in May. He was getting hit harder and harder early on, and the number of long innings he pitched quickly dwindled. His ERA in May was 5.51.
In June, he failed to rebound. Despite making four starts, the only time he went more than five innings was against the Daegu Samsung Lions on 7 June (5 innings, 7 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts), when he recorded his third win of the season.
Initially, NC manager Kang Myung-hwa wanted to send Yong-jun down to the Futures (second-tier) league in mid-June to give him time to rebuild, but coincidentally, foreign ace Eric Peddy went down with a right oblique strain on 14 June, forcing him to rotate through the starting rotation, and when Peddy returned at the end of June, he was naturally dropped from the first team roster.
Yong-jun then took the mound on the 2nd against the Doosan Futures team at Icheon Bears Park. It didn’t start well. In the top of the first inning, Kim Tae-geun led off with an infield single, but was followed by consecutive singles from Park Jun-young, Song Seung-hwan, and Kim Min-hyuk. Park Yoo-yeon then induced a grounder to third base, but allowed the next batter, Kim Moon-soo, to hit a single to right. She got Kwon Min-seok to fly out to right field to end the inning, but the three runs had already been surrendered.
Luckily, Lee settled down in the bottom of the second. He retired Yoon Jun-ho (grounder to shortstop), Lim Seo-joon (foul fly to catcher) and Kim Tae-geun (strikeout) to record his first three-hit shutout of the day.
Lee’s fourth run came in the bottom of the third. He gave up a solo arch over the left field fence to leadoff hitter Park Joon-young, but was unfazed. He got Song Seung-hwan to ground out to second base and Kim Min-hyuk and Park Yoo-yeon to fly out to left and right respectively.
The bottom of the fourth inning was clean again. Kim Moon-soo and Kwon Min-seok singled and grounded out to shortstop. He then induced Yoon Jun-ho to ground out to third.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Lee Yong-jun was back on the mound and got Lim Seo-joon to fly out to left before retiring Kim Tae-geun and Park Jun-young on a grounder to third and a fly out to centre. His final line was five innings, five hits, one home run, one walk and four runs. His total pitch count was 57.
While it’s never too early to draw conclusions from a single game, Yong-Jun’s performance was a testament to both his struggles and his successes. He was hit hard in the early innings, but then settled down to settle the batters down. It was encouraging to see him complete five innings on just 57 pitches, and it was also positive that he didn’t give up a single run.
NC will be hoping for a quick rebound from Lee Yong-jun. NC, who have been dealing with a string of injuries in their starting line-up as of late, finished the week with a poor 1-4 record. Ace Pedi, Taylor Widener, and Shin Min-hyuk have been playing well, but they’re clearly struggling. This is where the return of Yong-jun could help the team fight back, especially if he can secure a spot in the starting line-up again.
Will Yong-joon be able to rebuild his game in his upcoming Futures League appearances and quickly return to the first team, which is what NC is looking for as they look to rebound?