Kiwoom Heroes right-handed starter Jang Jae-young (21) pitched a dominant game to earn his first career win. It was a stunning performance against NC Dinos’ ace and league-leading starter, right-hander Eric Peddy (30).
Jang Jae-young started the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League home game against NC at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul at 6:30 p.m. on May 5, throwing 92 pitches over 5.1 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks while striking out seven to earn his first career win. Jang’s ERA dropped from 5.23 to 4.15 this season. Behind Jang’s performance, Kiwoom won 2-0.
After retiring the first three batters he faced with a strikeout, Jae-young gave up a leadoff single to Kwon Hee-dong in the top of the second. Jason Martin followed with a walk to put runners on first and second with no outs. However, Jang Jae-young struck out Yoon Hyung-joon and Jae-hwan Jae with swinging strikes. He got Park Se-hyuk to ground out to end the inning with a ‘KKK’. His pitches were shaky, but his fastball stood out.
In the top of the third inning, Jang Jae-young walked leadoff hitter Kim Joo-won and immediately gave up a single to Son As-seob, putting runners on first and second for the second time in as many innings. However, Jang Jae-young induced Seo Ho-chul into a pitcher’s choice. Park Min-woo struck out swinging to get out of the jam. Jang Jae-young also showed excellent crisis management skills.
Jang gave up a walk to Martin with one out in the top of the fourth inning, but he shut down the next batter, Yoon Hyung-joon, with an infield single to shortstop. In the top of the fifth inning, with his team leading 2-0, Jang recorded a triple play with two strikeouts. It was impressive to see him dominate the NC batters with his powerful fastball.
Despite throwing 81 pitches, Jang took the mound in the top of the sixth inning and hit leadoff hitter Son Ah-seob with a fly to left field. After giving up a walk to Seo Ho-cheol, the Kiwoom bench removed Jang and activated the bullpen. Right-handed reliever Yang Hyun pitched the rest of the inning to keep Jang’s ERA from rising.
Kiwoom held on to the lead and defeated NC 2-0, giving Jang his first career win.
In fact, Jang Jae-young is a player who has a history of pitching difficulties. After joining Kiwoom as the first pick in the 2021 rookie draft, Jang joined the Heroes Legion with a contract worth 900 million won. It was the highest contract in the history of the Heroes organization. He was known for his powerful fastball, which can reach over 150 kilometers per hour. However, there were always questions about his control.
This season was no different. In April, Jang struggled to a zero in 6.1 innings with 10 strikeouts.
But after being sent down to the second team to readjust, Jang was never the same. After returning to the first team in June, Jae-young pitched four games in June with a 1.88 ERA (14.1 innings, 3 earned runs), including his last start against the Doosan Bears on June 23, where he went five innings for the first time since his debut and allowed just one run. 안전놀이터추천
On this day, Jang Jae-young also showed his potential with a strong performance. He cooked the NC bats with his powerful delivery. His weakness, his fastball, has improved to a certain extent, and his strengths, his pitches, have become more prominent. Jang Jae-young’s powerful fastball and changeup left the NC batters helpless. NC’s ‘ace’ Pedi was the starting pitcher on the day, but Jang Jae-young didn’t let that stop him from pitching better than Pedi. He pitched 5 innings and gave up 2 runs.
Jang had one of the most memorable days of his career, recording the most innings, most pitches, and most strikeouts in a single game.
As recently as mid-June, Kiwoom was ranked ninth. It was an uncharacteristic performance for a team that reached the Korean Series last year. Since then, however, they’ve been able to reduce their win margin with a stable batting lineup and climb up to the middle of the pack. On a positive note, even Jang Jae-young, the “9 billion arm,” is settling into the starting rotation. Happy days are ahead for Kiwoom.