“I want to reduce the ups and downs”…pitching a career-high innings in his first QS, what’s next for Jang?

“I will try to reduce the ups and downs more in the future.”

Jang Jae-young (21, Kiwoom Heroes) vowed to reduce his ups and downs for the rest of the season.

Jang started against the LG Twins in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Jamsil Stadium on Nov. 11.안전놀이터

LG is the top team in the league this season (59 wins, 2 ties, 35 losses, and a winning percentage of 0.628) and boasts a stellar offense, leading the league in team batting average (0.281), hits (927), RBIs (487), and OPS (slugging percentage + on-base percentage, 0.760). He was no pushover.

The game started out steady. After giving up a hit and a walk in the first inning, he pitched cleanly until the end of the fourth inning. However, he faltered in the fifth inning and gave up a run. She was unable to overcome the bats of the opposition. He gave up a leadoff single to Moon Bo-kyung and then a double to Park Dong-won to put runners in scoring position.

Jang Jae-young sacrificed Kim Min-sung to get one out, but gave up another run on a fielder’s choice when Park Hae-min grounded to shortstop with runners at first and third. He then allowed Park Hae-min to steal second base and then gave up an RBI double to Moon Sung-joo to make it 0-3.

Despite the crisis, Jang settled down again in the bottom of the sixth, retiring batters four through six to close out the inning. Final Score: 6 innings, 4 hits (1 HR), 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 3 earned runs, his first quality start (6 innings or less) and longest outing of his career. Even though the team lost 3-5, Jang’s performance on the mound against a strong team was definitely a win.

A day later, when we met before the game, Jang Jae-young reflected on his last start (against LG Electronics in Jamsil on the 11th). “It was good that I didn’t walk any batters. I want the team to win, but there are a lot of regrets. I think I could have finished with fewer runs at the end of the fifth inning. When I threw the same pitch back-to-back, the results weren’t good, and I think I made (the same) mistake again when (Moon) Bo-kyung hit a home run off my brother, so I’m disappointed in that,” he explained.

While there were certainly things to be disappointed about, there were also a lot of positives. First of all, the reduction in four-pitchers was impressive. Jang was far from a reliable pitcher this season, giving up 36 four-pitchers in 48⅓ innings.

In particular, he had a shaky outing against the Gochuk Samsung Lions on March 30, when he gave up six four-pitchers with two outs, but on this day, he kept the batters at bay with only one walk. His four-seam fastball (51 pitches) reached a maximum velocity of 153 kilometers per hour, and his slider (28 pitches) and curveball (14 pitches) worked well together.

Jang Jae-young said, “I tried to forget about that game (against Samsung Electronics on March 30). I think I had a bad performance against Samsung at the beginning of the season, and I was greedy to make up for it, so I cleared my mind a lot. I talked a lot with (Chung) Chan-heon about my fastball grip, and he explained a lot about what type of pitcher I am and how to be aggressive, so those things helped me a lot,” he said.

His older brothers also have a lot of respect for the youngest member of the starting lineup. “All my brothers are doing a great job. Yesterday was my first quality start, so they said a lot of good things to me, saying, ‘You just need to do better and better. I also talked to Chanheon yesterday (Nov. 11) and said that I was disappointed with this part, but he said, ‘You showed a lot of good things,’ which gave me a lot of confidence and I was grateful.”

Jang concluded, “It’s hard to judge from one game, but I’m trying to reduce my ups and downs. I want to show the manager, the club, and my teammates that I can go the distance even if I give up a walk, and that’s the job of a starting pitcher. My biggest goal is to pitch with fewer ups and downs until the end of the season.”

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