“Sorry to the juniors…” Choi restarts RBI factory, aims for 5 per cent win rate in first half

After a brief slowdown, Choi Hyung-woo (39-KIA Tigers) has returned to his RBI production pace. Every game is history.

Choi Hyung-woo set the KBO’s all-time individual RBI record with a two-run home run off Han Seung-ju in the top of the fourth inning against the Hanwha Eagles on 20 March. He became the first player to surpass 1,500 RBIs, knocking Doosan Bears manager Lee Seung-yeop (1,498) into second place. Choi considered RBIs to be the most important record for a centre fielder and had been chasing the record for several years.안전놀이터

Since then, Choi’s batting has fallen off a bit. He showed signs of rejuvenation, batting .313 in his first 59 games up until the 20th against Hanwha, but then batted just .111 in his next nine games. He had no home runs and only two RBIs.

Yang Hyun-jong, the team’s junior and longest-serving pitcher, also saw his pace suddenly slow after he surpassed MBC Sports Plus commentator Jung Min-chul for second place on the career wins list with 162 against the LG Twins on 27 May.

Choi bounced back last week with his signature bat after KIA slumped to ninth place and made a concerted effort to rebound with a trade (for catcher Kim Tae-gun) and an all-foreign pitching staff. On the 6th, he hit two home runs against SSG Landers pitcher Kim Kwang-hyun to lead KIA to a 7-6 victory. He read Kim’s pitch mix well against a changeup-heavy line-up. He hit one changeup and one slider. He also reached a milestone in the home run department, becoming only the second player in franchise history to hit double-digit home runs in 16 consecutive years.Choi Hyung-woo hit an RBI single to left field off pitcher Son Dong-hyun with two outs in the top of the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie in the first game of a three-game weekend series against the KT Wiz the following day (7). Kia scored three more runs in the ninth to win 6-2, with Choi Hyung-woo delivering the game-winning hit.

Choi, who also had back-to-back multi-hit games in Games 2 and 3 of the three-game series against KT, added another RBI to take his career total to 1506.

KIA won all five games last week to move up from ninth to sixth place. The return of Na Sung-beom and Kim Do-young from injury rehab is starting to pay dividends. The batting line-up is a mix of long balls and mobility.

With five straight wins, KIA improved to 35 wins (1 tie, 38 losses) on the season and closed to within one game of the fifth-place NC Dinos. Choi Hyung-woo, who hit two home runs to demolish Kim Kwang-hyun, said after the SSG game on the 16th, “I felt sorry for the juniors because I haven’t been hitting well lately. I was lucky to get a multi-homer game. I will maintain my current batting form until the end of the first half. I hope the team can win a lot of the remaining games and finish the first half with a five-game winning percentage.”

KIA will play a three-game home series against the Samsung Lions from the 11th. If they win all three, Choi’s wish will be fulfilled.

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