KT’s center fielder Jang Jang-woo has been swinging the bat like nobody’s business, leading the team to its fifth straight win.안전놀이터
Jang Jang-woo started in the No. 4 spot against Doosan in Jamsil on Sunday and went 4-for-5 with a three-run home run, five RBIs and one run scored. Thanks to Jang’s fireworks display, which signaled his return to hitting form, KT won 9-8 and swept a midweek three-game series against Doosan. They are now tied for third place with second-place SSG.
Jang Jang-woo struck from the first at-bat. With runners on first and second in the first inning, he lined a low, 131-kilometer-per-hour slider from starter Brandon Waddell over the left field fence for a three-run homer. It was his ninth cannon of the season in 12 games since the first day against SSG.
Jang didn’t cool down after that, as he hit a two-run double to right-center field with one out in the third inning for a 4-3 lead. In the fifth inning, with two outs and a 6-3 lead, he lined a fastball from reliever Choi Won-jun to right field. In the seventh, he retired on a fly ball to left field, but in his final at-bat in the ninth, he hit his fourth hit of the day. Four hits in a game is the first time in 1,911 days since May 24, 2018, against the Gwangju Kia. The five-hit game was his first this season and the fourth of his career.
“I didn’t think of myself as a No. 4 hitter, but just a fourth outfielder, and I think it paid off,” Jang said after the game. “Recently, I had very few chances in front of me, but this time, my teammates created a lot of chances from the first inning, so I was able to focus more,” he said.
The victory was especially sweet because of his recent slump. Before this game, Jang was batting .108 (4-for-37) in August with an OPS (on-base percentage) of .314. He even told a self-help joke to his teammates, saying, “How can I score so many runs when I’m hitting four?
“My batting hasn’t been great lately, but the team has won a lot of games during that time, and the other players have been doing their part, so the pressure has been lessened,” said Jang. “As a catcher during the slump, I focused more on not giving up too many runs with the starting pitcher, and it feels good to be able to contribute so much to the team’s victory.”
Regarding the crisis situation in the bottom of the ninth inning when Doosan cut the lead to 9-8, he said, “I think I was more relaxed because we were on a winning streak. I felt like I wasn’t going to lose,” he said, expressing confidence. “I’ve been playing with the mindset of just getting into the top five. Now I’m in third place without a win, and I’m looking at second place, but I think if you get too greedy, it can lead to bad results.” “I’m just going to do what I’ve been doing. I’m just going to do what I’m used to doing, and I’m sure that if I do my best in the race in front of me every day, good things will happen.”