Last season, the NC Dinos bats came out swinging against Won-Tae Choi (LG Twins). They gave Choi Won-tae nightmares.
NC won 14-1 against LG in the 먹튀검증 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at NC Park in Changwon on May 25.
Starting for LG was Choi Won-tae. Choi Won-tae joined LG from the Kiwoom Heroes via trade this season. Since joining LG, Choi has appeared in four games, posting a 2-1 record with a 4.70 ERA, 12 runs (12 earned) in 23 innings pitched, and a 1.04 WHIP (walks allowed per inning). For the season, he is 8-5 with a 3.52 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 21 games, with 50 runs (49 earned) in 125 1/3 innings pitched.
This was Choi’s first start against NC this season, but he was strong against them last season. In five games (four starts) last season, he went 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 26 innings pitched with five runs (five earned).
NC manager Kang Myung-ho said before the game, “Last year, I couldn’t hit Choi Won-tae. But I don’t know how it will be today. I think we have to look forward to it.” ”We didn’t get any support from the offense in the games where Eric Peddy came out recently, so I think we’re struggling,” he said.
The NC batting lineup succeeded in targeting Choi Won-tae, just as manager Kang Myung-ho had hoped. From the first inning, they demonstrated force. Back-to-back singles by Son Asub and Park Min-woo created opportunities. After Park walked, Jason Martin, Kwon Hee-dong, and Do Tae-hoon hit consecutive singles. They scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning to take the lead.
In the second, Ahn Jung-yeol and Park Geon-woo singled to put runners on first and second, but Martin flied out to center field.
However, in the third inning, they were able to capitalize on Choi Won-tae. Choi started with a leadoff walk to Kwon Hee-dong. Do Tae-hoon laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners on first and second. Seo Ho-cheol followed with an infield single. Kim Joo-won came to the plate and hit an RBI double. Ahn Jung-yeol followed with an RBI single, and Son Ah-seob extended the lead to 7-0 with a two-run single.
Choi Won-tae fell apart in the bottom of the fourth inning. He gave up back-to-back singles to Park Gun-woo and Martin. After striking out Kwon Hee-dong, he gave up a walk to Do Tae-hoon to load the bases. He struck out Seo Ho-cheol, but gave up a three-run double to Kim Joo-won. Ahn Jung-yeol then walked and shortstop Son Ho-young made an error. Ahn hit a grounder in front of the shortstop, but Son made a throwing error, allowing Kim Joo-won to cross the plate.
In the end, Choi suffered his sixth loss of the season (eight wins) after allowing 11 runs (nine earned) on 15 hits, two walks and five strikeouts in four innings. It was his worst outing of the season, raising his ERA to 4.04. Choi will need to bounce back quickly from this performance. This could have a huge impact not only on the regular season, but also on the postseason. Choi Won-tae is the pitcher LG brought in to win this season. He must overcome this slump.
This isn’t the first time Choi has given up a large number of runs this season. On May 4, while playing for Kiwoom, he gave up 10 runs (nine earned) in four innings against the Daegu Samsung Lions. However, he followed that up with a six-inning, one-run performance in his next start against the Jamsil LG, giving him eight consecutive quality starts (6+ innings, 3 earned runs or less). It will be interesting to see if he can bounce back from this slump.
Meanwhile, NC added three more runs in the bottom of the inning with two home runs to put the game out of reach. LG had to settle for Austin’s 17th home run of the season in the top of the seventh inning.
NC became the first team this season to have all of its starters hit and score runs. It is the 87th time in KBO history that this has been accomplished.