This is what KIA Tigers manager Kim Jong-kook said ahead of the Doosan Bears match in Jamsil on the 6th. KIA was especially weak against Doosan Bears’ domestic ace Kwak Bin this year. Before this day, Kwak Bin pitched well in two games against KIA with two wins, 11⅓ innings, and a 1.59 ERA. Of course, when Kwak Bin took the mound, Na Sung-bum and Kim Do-young were out due to injuries, so they did not have a complete lineup. 스포츠토토
When asked that it was difficult against Kwak Bin this year, head coach Kim said, “This year (Kwak) Bin has good ball power and is at the ace level. “I couldn’t hit the ball,” he said, “I think the batters will cheer up a little today (6th). Kwak Bin’s ball power and control are stable, but I think he will win if he scores a little because he has good concentration.”
Kwak Bin slowed down for a while in the second half, but the contents of the last two games were good. He met the top teams SSG Landers and LG Twins one after another and scored 14 scoreless innings. There were still many four pitches, which are chronic diseases, but he somehow managed to do more than a quality start and performed like an ace.
Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop showed great faith in Kwak Bin. Coach Lee said, “Our (Kwak) Bin is good right now,” when asked that KIA’s momentum, which has recently won eight consecutive games, is not easy. I think KIA’s power is the best now in the second half. If I think I can get hit just because I’m the best, I’ll play to win. Bin gave me a good pitch. “I think he will show good movement as much as he does at Jamsil Home,” he said.
When I opened the lid, Kwak Bin was completely defeated. He was not in control enough to throw as many as 100 pitches in 3⅓3 innings, and collapsed with 9 hits (two home runs) and 3 outs, 4 strikeouts, and 6 runs. Six runs were the tie record for the most runs in a game this year since six runs in 1⅓3 innings against Jamsil LG on May 7. Doosan lost 0-7 to KIA, and Kwak Bin took his seventh loss (10 wins) of the season.
The ball wasn’t bad. Kwak Bin’s maximum fastball speed was 152km and his average speed was 148km. The fastball itself was not much different from usual. However, the problem was the control. Of the 40 fastball balls, only 22 strikes were made. This means that almost half of them were balls.
There was also a limit to holding out with a breaking ball. In the beginning, KIA batters were deceived by a big curve, but after two laps, they gradually adjusted to Kwak Bin’s curve and began to respond. Kwak Bin tried to find a breakthrough by actively mixing sliders and changeups, but there was no way to calm the heated KIA bat.
Kwak Bin was hit by Na Sung-bum in the top of the third inning when he faced 0-0. It was after Park Chan-ho, the leadoff hitter, allowed a left-field double. He handled Kim Do-young with a fly ball to first base, but was hit by Na Sung-beom’s superior two-run shot with one out and second base. He chose a curve at the ball count of 1-1, and Na Sung-bum responded before the ball fell and connected it with a long hit.
0-2 in the top of the fourth inning. Kwak Bin caused another crisis by sending leadoff hitter Kim Tae-gun out with a hit ball. Choi Won-joon allowed a right-handed hit to the right field to become first and third base with no outs, and Park Chan-ho hit a timely right-handed hit to make it 0-3. At this time, shortstop Kim Jae-ho tagged out Park Chan-ho, a batter who was caught in a run-down, and struggled to increase one out count. At this time, Kwak Bin’s number of pitches was already surpassing 80.
Kwak’s crisis continued. In the third base with one out, Kim Do-young hit a two-run shot to the left and widened it to 0-5. A fastball of 146 kilometers per hour went high at the ball count 1-1, and Kim Do-young pulled the ball over the left fence. It was a large gun with a distance of 130 meters.
The Doosan bench nevertheless tried to lead Kwak Bin further, but the crisis continued as Kwak Bin was hit by Na Sung-beom’s right-handed hit after one out. When Kwak Bin filled 100 pitches in 3⅓3 innings, the mound was eventually changed to Lee Hyung-beom. As soon as Lee Hyung-beom came up, Choi Hyung-woo hit a double on the right field, and Socrates gave up a timely two-run hit to make it 0-7. Kwak Bin’s run increased to six.
Coach Lee believed in Kwak Bin’s contribution, and coach Kim believed in the recent firepower of the KIA batters. And it was the KIA batters who responded to the belief. KIA’s batting line has set the stage for further continuing the good trend by scolding Kwak Bin, who had poor opponent performance this year.
Fifth-ranked KIA achieved nine consecutive wins in 10 years and three months since the match against the Hanwha Eagles in Daejeon on June 20, 2013, taking an even more advantageous position in the semifinals. However, sixth-ranked Doosan, which trusted ace Kwak Bin, is getting further and further away from the top five as it has lost two consecutive games.