Changed mood, NC righty Young-gun looks to continue upward trajectory against Samsung

Can the 2002-born right-hander (NC Dinos) keep up the good vibes after bouncing back from a bad season?토토사이트

The right-hander will take the mound against the Samsung Lions of the 2023 KBO on July 7 at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu, South Korea.

After making his professional debut in 2021 and failing to win a game until last year, Yong-jun has come into his own this year and secured a spot in the starting lineup.

Lee Yong-jun has been one of NC’s hits this season. Photo by Kim Jae-hyun
However, he fell into a slump in mid-May. On May 19 against the Changwon Samsung Lions (4-5 NC loss), he gave up five runs on seven hits, three home runs, two walks, and four strikeouts in 3.2 innings, and on May 25 against the Busan Lotte Giants (1-11 NC loss), he was unable to go the distance, giving up three runs on three hits, two walks, and three strikeouts in two innings. His ERA, which was 1.53 before these two games, skyrocketed to 3.09.

Fortunately, Yoo rebounded on May 31 against the Changwon Doosan Bears (2-3 NC loss), pitching five innings of four-hit ball, striking out five, walking four and allowing two runs. He threw 105 pitches, breaking the previous record of 103 pitches, and his fastball was measured at 149 kilometers.

There was a clear message in Yong-jun’s performance from NC manager Kang In-hwa. On May 30, before the game against the Changwon Doosan (5-0 NC win), Kang commented on Yong-jun’s slump, saying, “Yong-jun’s best pitches are his slider and curveball, but lately, I’ve seen him pitching mainly with his changeup.” He recommended that Yong-jun use his slider and curveball, which are his strengths, less than before.

This is in line with NC pitching coach Kim Soo-kyung’s analysis of Yoo’s success this year. “If you look at his pitches this season, there is a high proportion of fastballs and sliders. Last year, it was more of a changeup than a slider. He’s figured out which pitches he’s comfortable with, which pitches batters are fooled by, and he’s using them more often, so he’s getting a lot of in-play hits. (I feel like I’m doing a good job of getting to the plate quickly and getting good results.”

On May 31 against Doosan, Yong-jun used his slider (34 pitches) the most after his fastball (59 pitches). He added a curveball (9 pitches) and only used a changeup (5 pitches). While he didn’t get the win in that game due to lack of run support, it was a promising start to his career.

However, Samsung is not a team to be trifled with. As mentioned earlier, they handed Lee Yong-jun his second loss of the season back on May 19. In particular, Yoo will need to be wary of the likes of Kim Hyun-jun, Jose Pirela, and Lee Jae-hyun, who all hit home runs against him back then.

Yoo made a strong impact early in the season and was once considered a strong Rookie of the Year contender. After bouncing back from a brief slump, it will be interesting to see if he can show his true colors with another strong outing.

Samsung, meanwhile, will send right-handed underhanded Kim Dae-woo to the mound. This will be his first start of the year, having only pitched in long relief this season. He has a 3.13 ERA in 15 appearances with no wins, no losses, and two holds.