’19 SK shutout’ nightmare piles up as Changwon heads to Changwon without a win

The ‘defending champions’ SSG Landers head into the semi-playoffs without a single win at home. Now SSG and head coach Kim Won-hyung are on the precipice of the postseason.

On October 23, SSG played the second game of the semi-finals against the NC Dinos at SSG Landers Field in Munhak, losing 3-7. SSG fell to a second straight loss in the series after losing Game 1 3 to 4 the day before.

SSG faced NC starting pitcher Song Myung-ki with a starting batting order of Choo Shin-soo (designated hitter), Choi Ju-hwan (first base), Choi Jeong (third base), Eredia (center field), Han Yu-seom (right field), Ha Jae-hoon (left field), Park Sung-sung (shortstop), Kim Sung-hyun (second base), and Kim Min-sik (catcher). SSG’s starting pitcher was Kim Kwang-hyun.

SSG got off to a rocky start in the first inning with Kim Kwang-hyun on the mound. Kim gave up the first run of the game in the top of the first inning on an infield single to shortstop Son Asub. After striking out the next batter, Park Min-woo, on a wild pitch, Kwang-hyun gave up a single to left field to Park Gun-woo, putting runners in scoring position.

Eventually, Kwang-hyun gave up an RBI double to Martin down the right field line. Kim Kwang-hyun then gave up an RBI single to Kwon Hee-dong and a sacrifice fly to right field to Seo Ho-chul for three runs in the first inning.

Kim Kwang-hyun also struggled in the second inning. After getting the first two outs of the inning, he gave up back-to-back singles to Son Asub and Park Min-woo. After Park Gun-woo followed with a single to right, Kwang-hyun got Martin to fly out to center field to end the inning.

Kim was replaced by Moon Seung-won in the top of the fourth inning with the team trailing 4-0. The change was not due to the lack of runs scored earlier in the game. “Kim Kwang-hyun was replaced due to an open wound on his left thumb callus,” SSG said.

SSG rallied back in the bottom of the fourth inning with a two-run home run by Han Yoo-seom. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Han Yoo-seom hit a solo home run against reliever Lee Jae-hak to pull within 3-2.

However, three runs in the bottom of the eighth proved to be the difference. Moon Seung-won, who took the mound from the fourth inning and pitched a no-hitter through the seventh, had a moment in the eighth. After giving up a solo home run to leadoff hitter Kim Hyung-joon in the top of the eighth, Moon gave up a bases-loaded double to Son Ah-seob with one out. With the bases loaded and two outs, Moon gave up a single up the middle to Park Gun-woo, who eventually gave the ball to Ko Hyo-joon and was removed from the mound.

SSG missed their last chance to rally in the bottom of the eighth inning when Kim Sung-hyun grounded out to third base with runners on second and third. Leaving Changwon with a two-game series deficit, SSG is at a disadvantage heading into the playoffs, needing to win all three games of the series. The nightmare of a 0-3 series shutout at the hands of the Kiwoom Heroes during his time with the SK Wyverns in 2019 is still fresh in his mind.

Coach Kim Won-hyung said after the Game 2 loss, “We gave up a big goal early in the game today. We lost because we couldn’t overcome that. The players who started today were the best lineup. I’m not passive about using substitutes. We didn’t talk about Kim Kwang-hyun’s thumb injury before the game. After the third inning, he said it wasn’t feeling good, so we moved quickly because of the early runs. I didn’t make the substitution just because of the injury,” he reflected.

Regarding the decision to keep Moon Seung-won, who was the designated starter for Game 4 of the series, for an extended period of time, Kim said, “We gave up a lot of runs early on, and I didn’t have time to think about it until Game 4. Moon’s pitches were good today, so I tried to trust him until the end. I didn’t think about the fourth game. I threw a lot of pitches 사설토토 today, so I need to check my body condition. It’s not easy for Seung-won Moon to wait for the third game. We’ll have to see how he feels.”

McCarty, who is in the bullpen for the semifinals, is expected to pitch in Game 3. SSG will use Oh Won-seok as their starting pitcher for Game 3. “McCarty will be in the bullpen for Game 3,” said Kim. I think Elias will have to rest tomorrow and go to Game 3. It’s hard to answer at this point.”

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