“You can’t be in good shape all the time.”
Hanwha Eagles pitcher Kang Jae-min hasn’t had a great start to the second half of the season. In his last two appearances, Kang gave up runs in both games. He gave up one run on one hit with one walk and one strikeout in 0.2 innings against the NC Dinos in Daejeon on April 22, and three runs on three hits (one home run) in 0.2 innings against the Gochuk Kiwoom Heroes on April 25. It’s only two games, but he has a high second half ERA of 27.00. He gave up runs in all three games in July (2 runs in 0.2 innings against the Lotte Giants on July 5).
A former Yongmago-Dankook University player, Kang joined Hanwha with the 38th pick of the 20th round, 4th round, and has been a standout since his debut season. In 50 games, he went 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA and 14 saves. In 2021, he continued his success with a 2-1 record, five saves, 13 holds, and a 2.13 ERA in 58 games.
Last season, he took a slight step back. He went 4-8 with a 4.21 ERA and seven saves in 56 games. Allowed a career-high 33 walks (29 strikeouts + 4 batted balls).
This season, he hasn’t been nearly as clean as he was in years one and two. In the first half, he’s 1-3 with a 4.42 ERA in 36 games with 11 holds. It’s the first time in two years that he’s recorded double-digit holds, but the ERA alone is disappointing.
However, Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho trusts Kang Jae-min. Along with Joo Hyun-sang and Kim Bum-soo, he proved once again that he is still Hanwha’s best pitcher.
“I put Jae-min in the game on the 25th, but it didn’t go as planned,” Choi said, “He can’t stay in good shape forever, but I think he’s a little off now. His command wasn’t always good. He has the ability to throw strikes and has good movement with his changeup and fastball.” 스포츠토토
“Two bad games, but we need to see more. I believe in him. If it continues to be bad, I’ll think about it, but it’s two games into the second half, I’m not going to make that decision. You have to be convinced to a certain extent. I’ve been there, but you don’t just write it off because you didn’t do it once, because then other players might feel insecure that if they don’t do it once, they can go down.”
With so much faith in Choi Won-ho, can Kang Jae-min bounce back?
Meanwhile, the same sentiment applies to Han Seung-hyuk and Kim Seo-hyun, who were named to the starting lineup between the first team and the Futures the day before. Han Seung-hyuk started against Kiwoom on the 25th and gave up three runs on four hits and three walks in 2.2 innings, while Kim Seo-hyun started against the Futures in Goyang and gave up five runs (four earned) on eight hits in 4.2 innings. One bad outing doesn’t mean a demotion to the second team or fewer opportunities.
Choi Won-ho said, “Han Seung-hyuk made his first start in almost four weeks. I don’t think he pitched on the 25th in the right condition. He should start on the 30th. The same goes for Kim Seo-hyun. It’s been a long time since he’s pitched, so we’ve received reports that his condition has dropped. He still needs a little more time,” said Kim.