SEOUL, Nov. 20 (Yonhap) — The top two hitters in the NC Dinos’ lineup have gone 2-for-15 combined in two games of the Korean Series so far, but their manager Lee Dong-wook attributes the slow start to mostly rotten luck.
No. 2 hitter Lee Myung-ki lined into two double plays in a 5-4 loss to the Doosan Bears in Wednesday’s Game 2, with leadoff man Park Min-woo getting doubled up each time. Give Lee’s hard-hit balls a few inches in either direction, and he would have had base hits in both at-bats.
Instead, Lee finished the game 0-for-4. He’s 0-for-7 for the series. Park has been held to 1-for-4 in two straight games, after batting .345 in the regular season, his best average in four seasons.
Manager Lee tinkered with his lineup a bit for Friday’s Game 3 but left the two hitters at the top.
“If you just look at the results, you could say they’ve been disappointing,” Lee said Friday in a pregame media availability at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul. “But they’ve swung the bat well, and I still trust them. They understand the importance of their roles. They have to get on base for our sluggers behind them.”
The one change Lee made came in the bottom third of the lineup. First baseman Kang Jin-sung will move up from No. 9 spot to bat seventh and trade places with left fielder Kwon Hui-dong. Kang will bat in front of Aaron Altherr, a non-traditional No. 8 hitter who brings power and run-driving capabilities to the bottom part of the order.
Though Kang is just 2-for-7 in the series, he has seen 45 pitches in two games. Kang batted .474 in May, the first month of the regular season, and was still hitting .371 through June before fading away. The manager said Kang is showing his early season form.
“I think the way he’s swinging the bat now reminds me of the early part of the season,” Lee said. “If he can keep this up and get on base before Altherr, we should have some good things happen.”