NC Dinos foreign hitter Jason Martin laid the foundation for a rebound.
Martin started as the 4th hitter and center fielder in the second game of the 2023 KBO postseason semi-playoff (best of 5) against SSG Landers held at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on the 23rd.
Martin, who joined hands with NC ahead of this season, suffered from an injury early in the season, but soon returned and took charge of the central batting lineup. His regular league performance was 118 appearances, a batting average of 0.283 (123 hits in 435 at-bats), 17 home runs, and 90 RBI. Although he clearly felt a sense of disappointment as a foreign hitter’s report card, he still served as the No. 4 hitter for a team of dinosaurs that lacked hitters with slugging power.
However, he fell into a bit of a slump late in the season. In September, he only had a batting average of 0.240 and 2 home runs, and in October, he did not show much performance with a batting average of 0.250 and 1 home run.
Martin’s slump continued in fall baseball. On the 19th, he went 0-for-4 in the first game of the wild card game against the Doosan Bears (NC won 14-9). In the bottom of the 8th inning, he scored an RBI with one out and a ground ball on 1st and 3rd bases, but it was not a performance worthy of being the 4th hitter. In the bottom of the 7th inning, with no outs on first base, he showed signs of losing confidence, such as hitting a sacrifice bunt of his own volition.
It was slightly better in the first game of the semi-playoffs against SSG on the 22nd (4-3 NC win). He failed to hit a hit in the previous at-bat, but in the top of the 9th inning, with one out and runners on third base, he attacked SSG right-handed reliever Noh Gyeong-eun’s 6th pitch and hit a timely hit to right field for one RBI. Because there was a runner on third base, the opposing infield benefited from advanced defense, but the result was still possible.
And on this day, Martin finally exploded with the long-awaited long hit. It was also created at a very meaningful moment. In the top of the first inning, when both teams were tied 0-0, Son A-seop’s infield hit to the shortstop and Park Gun-woo’s left-field hit led to the batter’s box at first base with one out, and he hit 5 pitches from SSG starting pitcher left-hander Gwang-hyeon Kim and singled to right field. He hit an RBI double at the right time. Gwang-Hyun Kim’s 114km curve was low, but he was able to attack it by momentarily kneeling on his left knee.
As NC eventually won without allowing a tie, Martin’s hit became the winning hit of the day.
Afterwards, Martin did not produce a hit in the remaining at-bats. He returned to center field in the top of the second inning, and struck out in succession in the top of the 4th and 7th innings. In the top of the eighth inning, he drew a walk, but it had nothing to do with scoring.안전놀이터
Nevertheless, Martin’s hits and RBIs that day were meaningful. Although NC is on the rise, it is also clear that the weight of the 4th batting order has decreased. Martin’s rebound was essential for NC to head to a higher place, but as mentioned before, he was somewhat lacking in confidence, choosing to bunt himself in the first wild card game.
However, in this game, Martin laid the foundation for a rebound by hitting a double and an RBI against a not-so-easy pitcher named Gwang-Hyun Kim. Since it was the final hit that was directly linked to the team’s victory, it must have relieved some of the burden on my mind. In any case, there is no better remedy for a hitter who is in a slump than extra-base hits and RBI.
Meanwhile, NC, which recorded a 7-3 victory on this day following its victory in the first game of the semi-playoffs, will advance to the playoffs as a partner of 2nd place KT Wiz if it wins one more game in the remaining 3 games. The starting pitcher for Game 3 will be Tanner Turley, who has 5 wins, 2 losses, and an average ERA of 2.92 in 11 regular league games (64.2 innings).