Doosan couldn’t laugh even at the victory high.
Doosan Bears won 10-6 in a home game against KT Wiz in the 2023 professional baseball KBO League held at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on the 21st, thanks to good pitching by starting pitcher Gwak Bin, who allowed 1 run in 5 innings, and the performance of other lines.
Looking at the result alone, you could think of it as a leisurely victory with a 4-point margin, but Doosan couldn’t like it as well. The reason was the poor performance of the bullpen. The Doosan bullpen, which was ranked 9th out of 10 teams with an ERA of 5.13 before this game, was shaken on this day as well, and almost gave up all the games.
Doosan gave up the first run in the first inning by contributing an RBI to Hyeon-Woo Kang in the beginning of the first inning, and at the end of the 3rd inning Yang Chan-Yeol scored and Yang Seok-Hwan 1 RBI and a timely double hit turned the game around at once. At the bottom of the 4th inning, Ahn Jae-seok fired a sacrifice fly to left field, and Heo Gyeong-min also scored two RBIs at the right time.
Afterwards, Jose Rojas’ superior solo shot at the end of the 5th inning, Heo Gyeong-min’s 1 RBI and timely double at the end of the 6th inning, Kang Seung-Ho’s 1 RBI and timely double at the end of the 7th inning, and Yang Chan-Yeol’s 2 RBI and timely triple were added to Doosan’s lead by 10-1. Up until this point, an easy victory was expected.
However, in the beginning of the 8th inning, a dark shadow came over Doosan. Right-hander Lee Seung-jin was on the mound following Kwak Bin (5 innings, 1 run), Choi Ji-gang (1 inning scoreless), Lee Byung-hun (1 inning scoreless).
Lee Seung-jin induced lead hitter Anthony Alford to ground, but third baseman Kim Jae-ho made an error and allowed him to go on base. From this point on, he began to shake rapidly. He got a right-handed hit by Hong Hyun-bin and was driven to 1st and 3rd base safely. Afterwards, Lee Seung-jin led Kang Hyeon-woo to a ground ball in front of the pitcher and caught first-base runner Hong Hyun-bin, who was rushing to second base, but Lee Sang-ho committed a straight walk and faced a one-out run.
Lee Seung-jin could hardly find stability. He put the follow-up hitter Jung Joon-young to sleep with a strikeout on a swing after a five-pitch game, but was ejected for committing a headshot four-ball to Shin Bon-ki. One runner hit home by pushing, and Doosan bench immediately put in right-hander Ko Bong-jae. 스포츠토토
However, it was the same that Ko Bong-jae, who had rushed to the mound, could hardly increase his outcount. He allowed Ryu Hyun-in to hit 2 RBIs in a timely manner, and Sang-cheol Moon to score 1 RBI in a timely manner.
Afterwards, when Song Min-seop was allowed four balls and the bases were loaded again, Doosan sent right-hander Kim Myung-shin, but he could not put out the fire either. After a 9-pitch game, he allowed Alford a push walk. The score was 10-6, and the score, which was generous with a 9-point gap, was driven to the moment when it could be tied with a single home run. Fortunately, right-hander Park Chi-guk, who caught the ball afterwards, put pinch hitter Seong-Woo Jang to rest with a strikeout, and in the top of the ninth, KT’s attack was also blocked with a three-way strike, avoiding the worst scenario.
The importance of the bullpen in the sport of baseball cannot be overemphasized. Most teams with strong bullpens are in the upper ranks, but teams without them are likely to fall into the bottom ranks. This is because no matter how well the starting pitcher blocks and the other line scores, the outcome is decided in the second half of the game.
With this victory, Doosan recorded 10 wins and 7 losses with two consecutive victories, beating NC Dinos (10 wins and 8 losses) to rank third. However, the bullpen, which failed to overcome the sluggish performance this time again, made Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop more worried.