What allowed the NC native ace to rebound?

“(Lee) did a good job preparing in the Futures (secondary) league. His pitches became more balanced and his delivery stabilised.”

NC Dinos homegrown ace Lee Jae-hak (33) pitched well for the second straight game. Although he failed to record his first win of the season due to lack of offensive support, he pitched well and showed promise for the future.메이저놀이터

The right-handed sidearm pitcher, who entered the professional ranks in 2010 with the Doosan Bears, has been with NC since being selected by the then-new team in the second round of the 2012 draft.

With a career record of 77 wins, 71 losses, and a 4.52 ERA until last year, Lee has been with the NC since its inception, so he holds many of the club’s pitching records, including most wins (76), first win, first complete game, and first rookie of the year.

However, Lee struggled in back-to-back seasons in 2021 and 2022, especially in 2022, when he went 3-8 with a 4.75 ERA. This was largely due to a shaky delivery, as he gave up 62 walks in 91 innings pitched.

In the aftermath, Lee was forced to spend the first time since joining the NC this year in a second-team spring training camp instead of a first-team spring training camp. He then consulted with the Futures League until earlier this month.

After such a difficult time, Lee Jae-hak has rebounded perfectly as of late. On the 21st, he made his first first-team start of the season against the Changwon Samsung Lions (1-2 NC loss), throwing six innings of one-hit ball with two walks and four strikeouts.

Lee then proved his worth on the 27th against the Changwon Hanwha Eagles (0-5 NC loss). Until the top of the fourth inning, he allowed three runs on two walks and an error, but didn’t face a single pitch.

However, the top of the fifth inning was disappointing. He gave up a leadoff single to Oh Sun-jin. Lee Do-yoon followed with a single to left, and Lee Jae-hak gave up the first run of the game when Lee’s bunt attempt was misplayed by the infielders. First baseman Do Tae-hoon, who caught the ball, threw to third base, where Jang Jin-hyuk, who had pinch-hit for Oh, was ruled safe at third. Shortstop Kim Joo-won, who received the ball at third base, then threw to first base to catch Lee Jin-young, but the ball slipped, allowing Jang to cross home plate.

A slightly shaken Lee Jae-hak then gave up a double to Moon Hyun-bin with runners on second and third. But it didn’t collapse. With runners on first and second after a sacrifice bunt by Jung Eun-won, Chae Eun-sung and Kim In-hwan hit back-to-back flies to left field to end the inning without further damage.

Lee Jae-hak, who also took the mound in the top of the sixth inning, finished off the day by retiring Noh Si-hwan (grounder to second base), Choi Jae-hoon (fly to left field), and Jang Jin-hyuk (fly to shortstop).

His final line was 6 innings, 2 hits, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts, 3 runs, 2 earned. His total pitch count was 106, and his fastball was measured up to 145. Although he was unable to get any defensive or scoring support and had to wait until next time to get the win, it was a promising performance for his next outing. What made Lee’s rebound so successful?

In a recent interview with reporters, NC pitching coach Kim Soo-kyung explained, “When (Lee) Jae-hak was having a bad game, his pitching balance was off and his pitches were showing problems. “This time, I prepared well in the Futures League,” he said, “and this time, I was able to improve my pitching balance, which led to problems with my pitches. As my pitching balance improved, my pitches became more stable.”

Prior to his call-up to the first team, Lee Jae-hak appeared in seven games in the Futures League, going 3-1 with a 1.53 ERA. The improvement in his delivery was especially noticeable, as he struck out just 16 batters in 35.1 innings pitched, according to Kim.

Coach Kim said, “(Lee) came at a good time. “She was preparing well in the second team while paying attention to her pitching balance, and she maintained it when she came to the first team. He’s been going well in terms of speed, his change-up, which is his main weapon, and his pitches.”

Lee’s resurgence has been inspiring for his fellow NC pitchers. “I hope (Lee Jae-hak) can maintain his current form,” Kim said, “and (Lee) Jae-hak, and (Choi) Sung-young (who pitched the winning game against the Busan Lotte Giants on the 24th of this month), they were down to the second team, but they didn’t give up and prepared well with the idea that they would get their chance, and I think they’re doing a great job of helping them become a plus factor for the other players.”

Lee Jae-hak is gradually getting back to his best with his hard work and determination in the face of so many challenges. It will be interesting to see if he can get a ‘win’ in his next outing.

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