An expanded entry system implemented every September 1st to give opportunities to promising players and prevent abuse of existing players who have played more than 100 games. SSG Landers also registered as many as four pitchers, but the role of Noh Kyung-eun (39) did not change.스포츠토토
Noh Kyung-eun suffered his 4th loss (8 wins) of the season with 2 hits, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, and 1 run in ⅔ innings in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League regular season away game against the Hanwha Eagles held at Daejeon Hanwha Life Eagles Park on the 7th.
He took the mound in a situation that could have been the deciding factor. In the bottom of the 7th inning, with SSG ahead 3-1, Song Young-jin hit a hit to right by Choi Jae-hoon, followed by a double to right-center field from Lee Do-yoon, putting the runners on second and third base with one out, and Noh Gyeong-eun came on the mound. SSG’s selection seemed natural as he was the most reliable bullpen pitcher on the team. However, even for Noh Kyung-eun, who was facing a difficult situation, the three-game series was not easy. He had perfectly blocked the previous two games with one inning, one strikeout, and no runs (12 pitches), and one inning, one hit, one strikeout, and no runs (16 pitches), but the aftereffects were visible.
Noh Kyung-eun gave up a sacrifice fly to left field to pinch hitter Moon Hyun-bin and a timely RBI single to pinch hitter Nick Williams, allowing the score to be tied 3-3. He then gave up a straight walk to Noh Si-hwan, allowing Chae Eun-seong to hit a timely hit with an RBI single to left with 2 outs and runners on first and second base, allowing a comeback. After sending out Kim Tae-yeon with an automatic intentional 4th pitch, he barely put out the fire by striking out Choi In-ho with a missed swing, but he did not receive support from the team’s batting lineup and ended up being the losing pitcher.
This season, Noh Kyung-eun is playing a key role in the SSG bullpen with 8 wins, 4 losses, 24 holds (2nd in the league), 2 saves, and an ERA of 3.72 in 61 games. He always stepped up in every game the team needed to catch, and soon became the league’s second-most appearing relief pitcher with 65⅓ innings. Noh Kyung-eun, who joined SSG in 2022 after being released from Lotte Giants in 2021 and became a sure-win team for two consecutive years, was also praised as an ‘icon of human victory.’
However, even he, who was almost impregnable until May, gradually began to feel tired. Even young pitchers often pitched multiple innings and pitched three straight pitches, which is not easy. He pitched more than one inning in 20 of the 61 games and had three consecutive pitches, including the three-game series against Hanwha in this Daejeon. In June, his ERA faltered at 8.71, and it was only after taking a break during the All-Star break that he stabilized again. From August 3 to 5, while traveling between Suwon and Busan, he threw a total of 69 pitches over three days and earned two relief wins.
Still, rest was still necessary. Just looking at his velocity, based on the baseball statistics website Stat Tees, the average fastball velocity, which reached up to 149 km/h in the first half, became difficult to see above 146 km/h in the second half of the year. In order to survive the remaining month, which has become even more intense due to the increased number of rainy weather cancellations this season, it is essential for Pil Seung-joo and Noh Kyung-eun to manage their physical strength. The only thing to count on was the September expansion entry, but as of a week later, there is still no pitcher in sight to share the burden of ‘old man’ Noh Kyung-eun.
SSG recorded 61 wins, 1 draw, and 53 losses in the losing series against Hanwha, falling to 4th place 141 days after April 19. SSG, which was once competing with the LG Twins for the championship, is now worried about fall baseball as it has not been able to resolve its dependence on some bullpens such as Noh Kyung-eun, Ko Hyo-jun (40), and Seo Jin-yong (31). As of before the game on the 8th, there is an 8.5 game gap with 1st place LG and a 4 game gap with 6th place Doosan Bears, so they are now closer to 6th place.
It is difficult to expect young pitchers to replace the 39-year-old veteran in the short term. However, given the fierce competition for fall baseball rankings, it is difficult to give opportunities to young pitchers. This is why Noh Kyung-eun still takes the mound in times of crisis even when the number of pitchers has increased. High scores and ample leads give sure-to-win teams a break and allow managers to provide opportunities for young pitchers. In that sense, the batting line needs to work harder.Kiwoom Heroes Ronnie Dawson (28) fell in love with the charm of Korean baseball.
On July 13, Dawson signed a contract with Kiwoom for $85,000 (about 113.69 million won) as a replacement foreign hitter for Edison Russell. Not many fans had high expectations for Dawson due to his experience as an independent league player and his low salary.
However, Dawson is showing amazing performance this season. In 40 games, he is recording outstanding results with a batting average of .303, 157 at-bats, 52 hits, 3 home runs, 22 RBIs, 26 runs, 6 stolen bases, and an OPS of .839. Now he has established himself as a key hitter in Kiwoom’s batting lineup.
Dawson, who is always smiling and energizing the team, said, “The KBO League is really cool. I am grateful that both home and away fans came to the baseball stadium and cheered hard. The KBO League seems like a league full of energy. Playing baseball in this kind of atmosphere has been my dream since I was young, and I’m glad I was able to make it come true in Korea. “I love the KBO League, Korea, and Seoul,” he said about Korean baseball.
“The KBO League’s cheering culture is something you can’t see in the major leagues,” said Dawson. “When I first came to Korea, I was really surprised to see the fans cheering. Personally, I feel like baseball should be enjoyed by everyone, but that’s not the case in the United States. On the other hand, Central and South American countries such as the Dominican Republic are similar to Korea in that they have many exciting players. “I’m having a lot of fun playing baseball right now, and I think we need to introduce this cheering culture to the U.S. as well,” he said, explaining the appeal of the KBO League.
Fascinated by the energy of Korean baseball, Dawson works hard not only at baseball but also at self-development. “In the morning, I spend time with my family and do school work,” said Dawson. “I am taking a class called History of Communication, which studies how people of the past and the future communicate. “He is taking this class because he wants to communicate closely with his son,” he explained.
Of course, it is not easy to take university lectures while working as a professional baseball player. “I didn’t finish college in the U.S.,” Dawson said. So his goal is to graduate from school. “And her younger sister recently got a doctorate, and I’m jealous of that, so I’m studying hard so I don’t lose,” she said with a smile, sharing the reason why she aims to graduate from university.
“I feel very fortunate to be playing in the KBO League and to be happy and achieving good results,” said Dawson. “The KBO League is of a very high standard and it is difficult to maintain good results every day. He expressed his determination for the remainder of the season, saying, “I will always do my best without worrying about the results.”