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Another ‘crazy player’ has appeared in professional baseball NC’s postseason (PS) journey. This time it is right-handed pitcher Shin Min-hyuk. In the second game of the playoffs (PO, best of 5), which is the final gateway to the Korean Series (KS, best of 7) that LG is waiting for, he gave Suwon a great pitch and performed a perfect score to extend the team's winning streak.
It was a good pitch worthy of the title of PO 2nd starter. From the bottom of the first inning, he completed runs 1-3 with only 5 pitches, completing the first step perfectly. After two outs in the second inning, the team was eliminated until the bottom of the fifth inning without a single hit other than a double given up to Moon Sang-cheol. The number of pitches was only 50.
Even after cleaning time, the performance did not deteriorate. He caught his opponent with efficient pitching. The aggressive strategy of inducing fly balls worked well. By catching the first batter, Hwang Jae-gyun, in the bottom of the 7th inning, he got out as many as 14 batters in a row.
After that, a critical moment came. Anthony Alford was issued the first walk of the game. He induced Park Byung-ho to hit a ground ball to third base, but Tong's catch error occurred at second base. An inning that should have ended ended up with one out and runners on first and second base. In the end, he handed the ball to Ryu Jin-wook and came down the mound. As Ryu Jin-wook caught Jang Seong-woo with a thrilling double play, Shin Min-hyuk also clenched his fists.
In the final 6 1/3 innings, he allowed no runs with 81 pitches, 1 hit, 1 walk, and 2 strikeouts. The power of the changeup (35 pitches) and cutter (28 pitches), which led to a number of hits, led to the most innings pitched in the individual season. Although he didn't reach his personal high of 7 innings, he already has a flawless pitch. The team also won 3-2, leaving only one win until the end of the series.
Even in the semi-playoffs (quasi-PO) against SSG, he responded 100% to the head coach's trust. Although he had the important responsibility of starting Game 1, he allowed no runs, allowing 4 hits, 1 walk, and 3 strikeouts in 5⅔ innings. Although he was predicted to be inferior in his matchup with SSG's Roenis Elias, he held on proudly. Even though Elias put NC to sleep by allowing 2 runs in 8 innings, Shin Min-hyuk laid the foundation for the team to achieve the final victory.
The PO second round was similar to the semi-PO first round. After seeing the starting matchup with KT's Wes Benjamin, many predicted KT's superiority. Benjamin, along with his colleague William Cuevas, is a resource that forms the best foreign one-two punch. He left a respectable record of 15 wins (6 losses) and an earned run average of 3.54 (63 earned runs in 160 innings). On the other hand, Shin Min-hyuk only recorded 5 wins (5 losses) in 29 games (24 starts).
Shin Min-hyuk is never defeated by any opponent. It is a self-evident fact that when overcoming a starting matchup predicted to be inferior in a short game, the flow fluctuates greatly. NC's 'Crazy Player' baton has been passed on to Shin Min-hyuk. Fall in NC deepens even further.
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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