It’s back to the dark tunnel for NC, who have nothing to smile about after the doubleheader results.
NC finished their doubleheader against KIA in Changwon on the 27th with a 1-1 draw. Not a bad result. In the first game of the doubleheader, Song Myung-ki pitched well in his first start in a long time, while national team members Son Ah-seop, Park Geon-woo, and Park Min-woo showed their presence despite nagging injuries. Seo Ho-cheol continued to fight despite a broken nose.
However, there was only one player who couldn’t smile: Koo Chang-mo. Koo came on in the top of the sixth inning of the first game of the doubleheader with a 4-0 lead and pitched 2⅓ innings, striking out one and walking none. On the 19th, he pitched two innings of one-hit ball against Iksan KT in the Futures League, striking out two and walking none. In his return to the first team on the 22nd, he pitched 2⅓ innings of one-hit ball with one strikeout and one walk against LG Electronics in Jamsil. He threw 39 pitches.
In the first game of the doubleheader, he threw 2.1 innings of scoreless relief with one strikeout and one walk. He threw 44 pitches. Manager Kang Kwon-hyun was thinking 60 pitches today. If he passes this stage, he can reach 80 pitches, and if he can reach 80 pitches, he will try to return to the starting lineup and prepare for the postseason.
Koo took the mound in the top of the sixth inning with a 4-0 lead and pitched two perfect innings. His fastball was sitting in the low 140s, but he had a good forkball, and in the seventh inning, he mixed in a slider and cooked the KIA bats to perfection.
But in the eighth inning, Koo was a completely different man than he was in the sixth and seventh innings. He struck out the leadoff batter, Park Chan-ho, and threw two forkballs to Lee Chang-jin, but the perfect streak was broken by an error by the third baseman. He then gave up a walk to Kim Ho-ryung on a wild pitch, and with Kim Do-young at bat and the count at 2S, he fired a three-pitch 132-kilometer slider outside.
Koo’s face contorted for a moment. He immediately waved to the first base dugout and called for his trainer and pitching coach Kim Soo-kyung. Koo’s left hand, which held the ball, suddenly shook. A pained expression instantly covered his face. His dejected expression was evident as he walked back to the dugout.
Koo Chang-mo was recently removed from the final roster for the Hangzhou Asian Games. The KBO Power Enhancement Committee watched Koo’s return to the Futures League and decided to remove him from the roster. It was determined that he was not in good enough shape to pitch as a starter and was unproven in the bullpen.
Still, Koo had a clear goal: the NC’s postseason. He had received a letter of acceptance. He made it through the first game, but in his third appearance after returning and second appearance in the first game, he felt discomfort in his left forearm again. He went to the emergency room of CheongAh Hospital for a checkup.
The results were shocking. An NC official said, “He visited the emergency room of CheongAh Hospital, underwent X-ray and CT examinations, and was diagnosed with a left forearm ulna re-fracture. She is scheduled to visit a specialized hospital for further examination after October 3.”
This threatens to end both Changmo and NC’s dreams. Given the circumstances, I can’t help but think of the worst case scenario surrounding Koo Chang-mo. The 스포츠토토 first season of a 6+1 year, 13.2 billion won contract, assuming military service. NC paid too high a price. Koo is 1-3 with a 2.96 ERA in 11 games this season. The first season of this mega-contract is heading for a bad ending.