KT’s hot August, quietly strong ‘fixer’

KT Wiz Hwang Jae-gyun.

KT Wiz’s August was hotter than ever. The strong starting pitching staff was the centerpiece of the team’s success, but Hwang Jae-gyun (36), who played the role of “fixer” in the batting order, 스포츠토토 was not left out.

On August 31, KT won 6-4 against the Samsung Lions in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Katie Wiz Park in Suwon.

With the victory on the last day of August, KT posted a dominant 19-4 (0.826) monthly record. The 19 monthly wins are also the second-most all-time. The record in this category is 20 wins, set by the KIA Tigers in August 2009 and the NC Dinos in May 2015.

KT’s strength was on the mound. The team’s ERA in August was 3.06, well ahead of second-place NC (3.86). As the season came to a close and the heat wave hit, pitchers on both teams started to falter, but KT was solid.

But they couldn’t win just by blocking shots. Their 19 wins in August were a testament to their bats. However, KT’s team batting average in August was only .265, good for seventh place. It’s a story of creating chances at the right time and not missing them.

The centerpiece of the batting lineup was Hwang Jae-gyun. With Kang Baek-ho in the second team, Park Byung-ho out of the starting lineup due to injury, and Anthony Alford struggling for a while, the team was bound to struggle without Hwang Jae-gyun, no matter how strong his mound was.

Hwang’s monthly batting average of .306 in August wasn’t exactly stellar, but it’s his focus at the plate that should be noted.

He went 10-for-22 (.455) with runners in scoring position in August. He was second only to Hanwha’s Noh Si-hwan (18-for-9, .500) in regulation at-bats.

His five game-winning hits led the league. This means that Hwang contributed to more than a quarter of KT’s 19 wins with a game-winning hit. This is despite the fact that his monthly stats don’t really stand out in terms of batting average, RBIs, or home runs.

Hwang struggled early in the season after a toe injury sidelined him for an extended period of time. However, since his return in June, he has led the batting lineup with a string of big hits, which coincidentally coincided with KT’s rebound period.

He’s a bit of a late bloomer, and he’s not flashy, but he’s been a stalwart in the batting order and has helped drive the team’s rise.

In the final game of August, Hwang also reached a significant milestone. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning, Hwang added two more RBIs with a single to left field, giving him exactly 1,000 career RBIs.

He is the 22nd player in KBO history to reach 1,000 career RBIs.

In particular, Hwang Jae-gyun, who reached 1,000 runs last season, became the 12th player in history to record 1,000 runs and 1,000 RBIs at the same time.

This feat has only been accomplished by some of the best hitters in the KBO, including Lee Seung-yeop, Yang Jun-hyuk, Kim Tae-gyun, Park Yong-taek, Jang Jong-hoon, Park Jae-hong, Jang Sung-ho, and Song Ji-won.

If we narrow it down to active hitters, there are only four, Hwang Jae-gyun, along with Choi Hyung-woo (KIA), Choi Jeong (SSG), and Kim Hyun-soo (LG).

Compared to his predecessors, Hwang hasn’t been in the spotlight as much, having never been named league MVP or won an individual title. However, he has been a consistent performer since his debut, and now has one of the best “cumulative records” in the league.

The same can be said for KT’s rise. It’s no exaggeration to say that Hwang Jae-gyun was a key part of KT’s ‘greatest August ever’, 스포츠토토링크 as he was unspectacular but played his role whenever needed.

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