“I was too greedy”
Lotte Giants’ Han Hyun-hee started the 13th game of the season between the team and the Hanwha Eagles of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Sajik Stadium in Busan on May 29, throwing 88 pitches in six innings, allowing one run (one earned) on four hits and no walks with five strikeouts to earn his sixth win of the season.
Lotte had a big “hole” in their starting rotation after their homegrown “one-two punch” of Park Se-woong and Na Kyun-an were called up to the Hangzhou Asian Games (AG) squad. Having started the season without five starters, the team didn’t have the resources to go beyond the Charlie Barnes-Aaron Wilkerson pairing. With the SSG Landers and KIA Tigers faltering, Lotte could close the gap and jump into the race for a wild-card spot.
Acting head coach Lee Jong-woon announced a “total war” to close the gap on the mid-table teams, starting with a six-game home stand against the Hanwha-Samsung Lions on April 28, and called upon Han Hyun-hee, Shim Jae-min, Jung Sung-jong, and Lee In-bok as alternate starters. Han Hyun-hee was the first to get her chance. Acting manager Lee Jong-woon expressed his intention to use the entire bullpen if Han Hyun-hee struggled, but secretly expected him to pitch five innings, and he did more than that.
Han got off to a shaky start in the first inning when she hit leadoff hitter Choi In-ho with a fastball. He quickly worked out of the jam by striking out Chae Eun-sung on a fly ball to left field, but allowed a stolen base to put runners on second and third. He then induced Nick Williams to fly out to left field. However, left fielder Jeon Jun-woo missed the throw, allowing second baseman Choi In-ho to score from second to open the scoring.
Despite giving up a run in the first inning, the pitching started to improve in the second. Han gave up one hit each to Park Sang-un in the second, Choi In-ho in the third, and Oh Sun-jin in the fourth. However, she didn’t allow a single runner to reach second base and got out of the inning without any threats. In the fifth inning, Lee Do-yoon, Choi In-ho, and Moon Hyun-bin struck out the first three batters of the inning, and in the sixth inning, he took the mound and shut down Hanwha’s center field to complete a six-inning, one-run performance.
The Lotte bats took control early, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning after Han Hyun-hee gave up a leadoff single, then added two runs in each of the sixth and seventh innings and two more in the ninth to win 9-1 and extend their winning streak to three games. It was Han’s first quality start (six innings and three earned runs or less) in 122 days since May 30, his first win in Sasik since April 13 against the LG Twins in Sasik, and his first win in 134 days since May 18 against Hanwha in Daejeon.
“It feels good,” Han said, “I’ve been throwing the ball well lately, and I’m glad my pitches have been working well. Today, I felt that my brothers and sisters were working so hard on defense and offense, so I was encouraged. It was a very encouraging game thanks to my teammates.”
Han returned to his hometown after signing a three-year, $4 billion contract with Lotte prior to this season. The Giants had high hopes for him, as he had been a standout performer throughout his career, splitting time between the starting rotation and the bullpen. However, when the lid was lifted, Han’s performance was clearly disappointing. After struggling in April with a 7.17 ERA, Han seemed to bounce back with a 2-2 record and 1.64 ERA in May, but he hit rock bottom again in June and was moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen.
Although she was disappointed to not be able to secure a spot in the starting rotation, she believed that she would be able to do her job as an experienced player in the bullpen, but she showed more anxiety in the bullpen than in the starting rotation. “I was too greedy, I was under pressure, and I needed time to adapt to the team. I think these things overlapped and led to bad results,” Han said.
In the end, the pressure to perform was great. “Because I came as a free agent, I had a lot of pressure to do well and be the player the team needed, but it was all greed. It would have been better if I had pitched in a relaxed manner, but because I was greedy, the ball fell out of my hand, which led to strikeouts and bad results,” Han explained.메이저사이트
It was her second win in as many starts. However, Han hadn’t been performing so well that he mistook the win for his first start at Sajik. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t under pressure today. But I could see my teammates working so hard, so I was moved, and I pushed myself harder and threw accurately. I’m also thankful that my older brother and sister were smiling at me.”
Since there is no turning back from what has already happened, Han Hyun-hee is now looking ahead. “I had a lot of difficulties, but my parents, mother-in-law, and wife gave me a lot of strength. Now that I’ve adjusted, I feel much more relaxed. I’m not going to be greedy,” he said, adding, “I don’t know if I’ll start or pitch in the middle for the rest of the games, but I want to help the team as much as possible in every game.”