Last year’s JunPO found a hold king → this year’s ‘sparkling’ gem. “I will be more neutral than Park Young-hyun”
After KT Wiz starter Wes Benjamin pitched seven scoreless innings, high school rookie Park Young-hyun came on in the bottom of the eighth. With a slim 2-0 lead, Young-hyun pitched a solid eighth inning against Kim Jun-wan, Lee Yong-kyu, and Lee Jung-hoo to retire the side in order. In the bottom of the ninth, I thought that closer Kim Jae-yoon would come up, 바카라사이트 but no. Park Young-hyun came up again. Manager Lee Kang-cheol trusted his gutsy pitching to the ninth inning, and he didn’t falter. He got Kim Hye-sung on a fly to left, Puig on a fly to left, and Kim Woong-bin on a foul fly to the catcher to end the game.
Amazingly, Park had never recorded a save in the regular season. He only had one loss and two holds.
The semi-playoffs proved that he was a pitcher with a strong mentality who didn’t shake in big games, and a year later, he became the youngest KT setup man ever to reach the 30-hold mark and won the hold title with 32. At the Asian Games, the sight of him plugging fastballs like they were meant to be hit gave baseball fans everywhere a thrill.
KT is now two losses away from elimination in the playoffs. However, there is a small victory. It’s bullpen pitcher Son Dong-hyun.
Drafted with the 21st overall pick in the 2019 second round out of Seongnam High School, Son has been a stalwart in the bullpen this season alongside Park Young-hyun. In the regular season, he appeared in 64 games, posting an 8-5 record, one save, 15 holds, and a 3.42 ERA to help the team finish second. Young-hyun Park pitched 75⅓ innings in 68 games, while Dong-hyun Son pitched 73⅔ innings in 64 games.
Lee’s confidence level in Son Dong-hyun has only increased in these playoffs. Down 1-8 in the top of the fifth inning of Game 1 on Tuesday, Son came in as the fourth pitcher and pitched one inning of two-hit, one-strikeout ball. He gave up a leadoff single to Oh Young-soo to left-center, but struck out Kim Hyung-joon in the eighth and induced Kim Joo-won in the ninth with a grounder in front of the second baseman to force out the runner at second. With two outs, he gave up a single to No. 1 Son Ah-seob to put runners on first and second, but got No. 2 Park Min-woo to ground out to the second baseman. His fastball, which topped out at 146, and slider showed good movement. Gave up two hits but handled Park Min-woo well in the clutch, who had a good day at the plate.
Lee praised Son before Game 2. “His velocity was good and his command was pretty good,” he said, “He’s in the best shape of the bullpen right now. I think he can be used more than Park Young-hyun.”
Son Dong-hyun was the second pitcher in the top of the sixth inning of the second game on the 31st, trailing 0-3 after Benjamin. He got Martin (4) to fly out to center field and Kwon (5) and Seo (6) to fly out to left field. Just seven pitches to get out of the first inning. In the top of the sixth, he retired Oh Young-soo on seven pitches, Kim Hyung-joon on eight, and Kim Joo-won on nine. Two scoreless innings with no hits and one strikeout. He relied on a fastball that topped out at 145 mph and a slider.
This is the first postseason for Son Dong-hyun. However, the experience he gained in the regular season, pitching consistently in the bullpen, has paid off in big games. Like Young-hyun Park, this postseason experience will hopefully translate positively into next season.
With the addition of Son Dong-hyun, who is stepping up his game, Kim Min-soo, who recorded 30 holds last year but has struggled with injuries this year, and Park Si-young, the setup man from the championship, KT will have a solid bullpen next season.