It was just like 10 years ago when he was the ace of the NC Dinos. NC Lee Jae-hak has settled into the starting rotation with three consecutive quality starts, holding opposing batters to one run or less in all of them.

On the 4th, he started against the LG Twins in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, South Korea, and pitched six innings of two-hit ball with one walk and three strikeouts to earn his first win of the season. After recording quality starts in each of his previous two games, he had only taken one loss, but picked up a valuable win in his third appearance. The win completed NC’s three-game weekend sweep.

This is not the same Lee Jae-hak who went 3-8 with a 4.75 ERA in 26 games last year. He’s been reborn as an ace, with his walk rate plummeting and his strikeouts dropping from a whopping 106 in 174 innings over the past two years. He throws a fastball, a changeup, and an occasional slider. He throws the same pitches he’s been throwing his whole life, and he’s still able to deceive hitters.메이저놀이터

On the fourth day, he threw 43 fastballs and 37 changeups. There was only one slider. He showed that he can dominate hitters with just two pitches.

From the first to the fourth inning, he retired the first 10 batters he faced. Retired three straight batters from the second inning to the first batter of the second inning. He immobilised not only LG but also Moon Sung-joo and Hong Chang-gi, two of the league’s most prolific hitters. Against Hong, he threw only four fastballs for strikes.

The perfect pitch was broken after the first out of the fourth inning. Third baseman Park Seok-min made an error on Moon Sung-joo’s grounder, but Lee Jae-hak was not a pitcher to be rattled with one out. He got Hong Chang-ki to ground out to third base and Austin Dean to fly out to right field to complete a scoreless fourth inning.

In the game-winning fifth, he faced three straight left-handed batters. Moon grounded out to first base and Kim Hyun-soo grounded out to second base. Oh Ji-hwan flied out to right field. It flew to the walking track, but right fielder Son Ah-seop was able to catch it with ease.

In the sixth inning, they got lucky. Lee Jae-hak gave up his first hit of the game to the first batter, Heo Do-hwan. The next batter, Shin Min-jae, gave up an infield single. With runners on first and third, Park Hae-min’s line drive was caught in the glove of first baseman Do Tae-hoon and turned into a double play. With runners on second and third, Moon Sung-joo flied out to centre field to complete the sixth inning.

In the seventh, he was forced to retire the side in order after a walk and a hit by pitch. The second pitcher, Kim Young-gyu, loaded the bases with one out, but NC’s lead remained at 3-1. NC held on to the score and won their third straight game.

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