Moon Dong-ju started the third game of a midweek three-game series against the Kia Tigers of the 2023 KBO League at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon on May 25. He went four innings, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks. He gave up a run when his team had the momentum. His pitches were not good.
Moon struggled in the first inning. He walked the leadoff batter, Ryu Ji-hyuk, and induced Park Chan-ho to fly out to left to load the bases, but gave up a walk and a hit batter in the next at-bat before giving up a single to Choi Hyung-woo in the fourth.
Moon closed out the second inning without allowing a run. The bottom of the second inning took an unexpected turn. Kia starter Lee Yi-ri 메이저놀이터 threw a sandbag at Kim In-hwan’s head (helmet), causing him to be ejected under the headshot rule. The Hanwha bats took advantage of the Kia pitchers, who were not fully warmed up and had trouble with their pitches.
Moon Dong-ju was unable to protect the lead in the top of the third inning. Two batters later, he gave up a single to Socrates Brito, a walk to Choi Hyung-woo, and a wild pitch against Ko Jong-wook. His outside pitches against left-handed hitters had too much movement. Catcher Park Sang-un jumped up twice in the game against Ko Jong-wook.
He also lost the game. He threw a 158 km/h four-seam fastball (fastball) down the middle of the plate, but it was hit hard. The pitch was hit into right-center field. Both runners reached base.
Moon gave up a home run to Byun Woo-hyuk, who was on second base with two outs. His fastball was clocked at 154 km/h, but he allowed Byun Woo-hyuk to swing at it and hit it hard. The center fielder Moon Hyun-bin caught it, but his pitching power seemed to have dropped significantly.
In the fourth inning, Moon walked the leadoff batter, Lee Woo-sung, and faced the next batter, Shin Beom-soo. Once again, the pitch was well outside the left-hander’s zone.
This time, he was able to prevent further damage. Shin induced a grounder in front of the pitcher to Shin Beom-soo, who chose to throw to third to get the runner out. However, with one out, Kim Gyu-sung singled up the middle, and Ryu Ji-hyuk and Park Chan-ho followed with singles. They all flied out in front of Yasoo to end the inning without a run, but the jitters continued. In the top of the fifth inning, with the score tied 3-3, Choi Won-ho removed Moon Dong-ju and brought in Kim Bum-soo.
Moon had set a new record for the fastest fastball by a Korean pitcher when he hit 160.1 km/h against Park Chan-ho in the bottom of the first inning against KIA on March 12. From that game, interest and expectations grew for Moon Dong-ju. Moon has been on a roll.
However, he struggled against the SSG Landers on the 13th, giving up seven runs on seven hits and three walks in two and a third innings, and against the LG Twins on the 19th, he failed to complete five innings.
Again, he was shaky, allowing rallies to happen when the opposition collapsed on themselves. His strike-and-ball ratio was too high. He stuck to his outside pitches and gave up two straight hits.
Something is not right with Moon Dong-ju. The Rookie of the Year race is in the balance.