“Lotte’s batters were quick to settle down, and they were confidently throwing strikes from the first pitch.”
Fierce starting competition proved to be the medicine. NC Dinos’ Shin Min-hyuk may not have won his sixth game of the season, but he raised his stock with an impressive outing.
Shin threw six scoreless innings in the final game of the season against the Lotte Giants at Sajik Stadium in Busan on April 12.
It was his second start of the season after 153 days since April 11 against the Changwon KT Wiz.
Unfortunately, he fell short of his sixth win of the season. With a 3-0 lead in the sixth inning, he handed the mound over to Ryu Jin-wook, but Ryu faltered and left the bases loaded. In the end, the third pitcher, Kim Young-gyu, gave up a two-run single to end the game.
“I just wanted my team to win,” said Shin Min-hyuk after the game, “because I’ve protected my victory a lot more times than you have. Kim Young-gyu leads the team with 19 holds, while Ryu Jin-wook is second with 16. NC’s rebound to third place can be attributed to their backs.
“I feel like I pitched well for the first time in a long time, and it worked especially well because I was more aggressive with my first-pitch strikes than usual,” Shin Min-hyuk explained.
“A lot of Lotte’s hitters start with the fastball, and they have a lot of confidence in their changeup, so they were looking for a lot of changeups, so it was good to go outside or drop it quickly to get a quick win. It gave me a lot of confidence.”
Most importantly, he threw a 78.9 percent (15-of-19) first-pitch strike rate, which led to an economical pitch count of 16 pitches in the second inning, 29 pitches in the third inning, and 78 pitches in the sixth inning.
“When I think about it, when I was in good shape, I always pitched fast and had a high percentage of first-pitch strikes, so it worked out well because I remembered how I was when I was in good shape. I thought I’d keep it to 20 pitches per inning…” Shin smiled. 안전놀이터
He was disappointed that he came down with so few pitches. “(Ryu) Jin-wook said he felt sorry for you, so I said it was okay,” Shin added.
In the second half of the season, he started to get on base. In seven games and 32⅓ innings pitched since August, he had two walks, one in each of the first two games. “I think the first strike is so important, and I threw confidently with the feeling that I could get hit,” Shin said.
As for his chemistry with the catchers, he said, “(Park) Se-hyuk has his own style, (Ahn) Jung-yeol is aggressive, and (Kim) Hyung-joon tends to adjust to me. I also like (Park) Dae-on,” he smiled.