“The bunt was voluntary.”
NC Dinos outfielder Jason Martin stepped to the plate against right-hander Kim Kang-ryul with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 1 of the 6-5 wild-card deciding game against the Doosan Bears on April 18. He suddenly got into a bunt stance when a 146 mph fastball came in.
He laid down a clean bunt. He slowed the pitch down and directed it toward first base. Kim Kang-ryul caught it and threw to first for the out. NC then loaded the bases with a walk to Kwon Hee-dong and a single to Kim Joo-won before Seo Ho-cheol hit a two-run double over the left field fence to make it a three-run game.
While the six-run eighth inning was the deciding factor, the two runs in the seventh inning did set the tone, and Martin’s bunt wasn’t directed by manager Kang Myung-ho. 메이저사이트“It was spontaneous,” Kang said after the game. He was our No. 4 hitter, but I didn’t think it was a bunt, so I gave him a hard hit.”
Martin’s sacrifice bunt was necessary in the context of the game, but Kang wanted to save his No. 4 hitter’s pride. Martin went 1-for-4 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored. Even though the offense exploded for 12 hits and nine walks, Martin’s bat wasn’t enough.
In 118 games this season, Martin is batting .283 with 17 home runs, 90 RBI, 55 runs scored, 15 doubles, a .455 on-base percentage, a .360 OPS, an .815 slugging percentage, and a .317 OPS. He hasn’t hit as many home runs as his Triple-A home run king reputation would suggest. Crucially, in 35 games in September and October, he batted .244 with three home runs, 23 RBIs, and nine runs scored.
Kang must have been grateful to have a foreigner batting out of form, but also frustrated that Martin hadn’t hit a home run in the first game of fall baseball. All hitters have their ups and downs, and Martin has his ups and downs. Either way, it’s not a good thing for NC that his average is dropping when it matters most.
Coach Kang has seen enough of Martin’s team-first mentality, which is something that should be appreciated. However, it’s worth considering whether or not he’ll continue to bat fourth when his batting form isn’t looking great. The semi-playoffs start on the 22nd against SSG Landers. Considering that Martin is batting fourth, there’s a good chance that there’s another bat in the batting order. After all, Martin is more of a long hitter than a bunt hitter.