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Yang Hyun-jong (35), the ‘big pitcher’, was humiliated on the 8th against the LG Twins in Gwangju.

He gave up five runs in the first inning and three more in the second. Against a pitcher whose velocity dropped significantly, LG’s batters swung long bats and scored runs. It was another nightmare after the June 2 game against the Lotte Giants, which saw nine runs in two innings. However, that game was not officially recorded. The game was called a no-game due to heavy rain at the end of the second inning when Kia was trailing by eight runs. One loss for KIA and a humiliating record for Yang Hyun-jong was washed away by the rain.

But there was no such luck again.

On the 15th, against the Kiwoom Heroes at Kia Champions Field in Gwangju. After striking out three in the first inning, Yang Hyun-jong retired the next two batters in order with runners on first and third. In the bottom of the second, he gave up his first hit, but got out of the jam by getting the third out on a grounder.

In the top of the fourth inning, the score was tied at 0-0. After giving up a single to Lee Won-seok, Yang Hyun-jong induced a grounder to Lee Ju-hyung at second base. The KIA infield attempted a 4→6→3 double play, but had to settle for a force out at first base. With two outs, Yang induced a grounder to Jeon Byung-woo. However, the ball went deep to the left side of the infield and hit the foot of KIA shortstop Park Chan-ho, who tried to make a backhanded catch and sailed into left field. Meanwhile, Lee Ju-hyung advanced to third base and Jeon Byung-woo settled in at second.

Yang Hyun-jong, who walked the ninth batter, Kim Dong-heon, to load the bases with two outs, took advantage of two strikes against Kim Jun-wan. However, Kim’s bat didn’t come through on the next two pitches, and Yang eventually gave up a pushing grounder. In the second out of the inning, Yang fired a 140-kilometer fastball down and away from 1S, but it didn’t find the bat of Kim Hye-sung. A grand slam over the right field fence. Park Chan-ho’s missed throw was recorded as a hard hit, not an error, and the five runs were all Yang Hyun-jong’s.

Yang returned to the mound in the fifth and pitched a three-hit shutout inning. In the top of the sixth, with his pitch count at 90, Yang struck out and walked to get the first two outs, but gave up a walk to Kim Dong-heon and a single to Kim Jun-wan. His pitch count had risen to 112. Eventually, KIA pitching coach Seo Jae-heng took the mound, and Yang Hyun-jong came off the mound after helplessly handing the ball to first base. Reliever Kim Ki-hoon followed with back-to-back singles, bringing all the runners home. Yang’s final line: 5⅔ innings, 6 hits (1 home run), 4 walks, 5 strikeouts, 7 runs.

The game wasn’t all Yang’s fault. The Kia bats were unable to hit Kiwoom starter Ariel Furado at all, and a series of unlucky plays on defense led to runs. However, it was unfortunate that, as in the previous game against LG, most of his pitching metrics, such as velocity, fastballs, and strikes, failed to rebound.

With 164 career wins in the KBO, Yang Hyun-jong is the next in a long line of Tiger aces and has been called the best left-hander in Korean baseball. He’s a “living legend” who makes history every time he takes the mound, but his performance this season hasn’t lived up to the hype. “Even if I always prepare according to my routine, it doesn’t go well, so I’m worried and stressed,” said Kim Jong-guk, the manager of the KIA. He had hopes for a rebound against Kiwoom, where he had plenty of time to recharge after the no-game, but he could only shake his head again. 파워볼사이트

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