“I think the team will be stronger if we have pitchers who think they can dominate the opponent, not just throw one pitch as a substitute starter.”
Doosan Bears manager Lee Seung-yeop voiced his disappointment with the recurring struggles of substitute starters before the team’s game against the SSG Landers in Jamsil on Sunday. Doosan sent out Kim Min-kyu as a substitute starter on the 26th, but he was pulled early after giving up two runs on three hits and three walks with one strikeout in 2⅔ innings. The team needed him to hold down the fort until left-hander Choi Seung-yong recovered from a finger injury, but Kim was unable to capitalize on his first opportunity. Kim was eventually removed from the first team roster on July 27, along with pitchers Kim Kang-ryul and Lee Byung-heon.
Lee said, “To be competitive in the first team, you need to have a good fastball. Even if you throw over 150 kilometers, you can’t survive if you have no control. You have to be able to throw strikes and balls where you want them to go. If you’re a pitcher with good control, but you started out as a middle reliever and ended up as a substitute starter, you might be off-balance. He needs to increase the probability of throwing strikes, and that’s why we left him off the roster.”
Doosan is already filling two spots in the starting rotation with alternates. Raul Alcantara, Brandon Waddell, and Guk-Bin are solid, but they’re struggling to fill the fourth and fifth spots. Sidearm Won-jun Choi was recently moved to the bullpen, leaving Seung-yong Choi to start, and his replacement, Kim Min-kyu, out with an injury.
Kim Dong-ju, who was slated to spend the second half of the year as the fifth starter, was also sent to the second team after struggling, making way for left-hander Lee Won-jae, a 2022 second-round draft pick. Lee has already been working with the first team, and on this day, he prepared for his start by throwing bullpen pitches in a locker room.
Doosan is currently engaged in a fierce top-five battle. As of the 27th, they are in fifth place with 54 wins, 52 losses, and 1 tie. They are 1.5 games behind the fourth-place NC Dinos and 0.5 games behind the sixth-place KIA Tigers. If the starting rotation continues to falter, they could struggle to hold onto fifth place.
Lee was ultimately harsh on Young-gun for not capitalizing on his opportunities as a substitute starter. “We only have Alcantara, Brandon, and (Kwak) Bin. Good teams have a guy who pitches unexpectedly well once in a while. That’s how you energize a team. Don’t think of a substitute pitcher as a one-and-done pitcher, but a pitcher who thinks he can dominate the opponent, and the team will be stronger.”
Choi Seung-yong is unlikely to be available for the next turn, so Lee has tentatively selected Park Shin-ji as Kim Min-kyu’s next replacement. “I know that (Choi) Seung-yong is pitching in the bullpen in the second team for the next week or so, so it will be difficult for him to join next week. (Park) Shin-ji is reported to be the next best pitcher after (Lee) Won-jae in the second team. They said Jang Won-jun is still slow. I’m looking at Won-joon, I’m looking at a lot of guys. I’ve heard reports that Shin-ji doesn’t pitch away, and the results are good,” Park said, indicating that he’s willing to give Shin-ji one more chance.
The bullpen has been overloaded by the repeated early departures of substitute starters. Pitchers such as Kim Myung-shin, Park Chi-guk, Chung Chul-won, and Hong Gun-hee, who have been struggling in the closer’s role all season, have seen their quality drop. This is why the number of overturned games is increasing.메이저놀이터
Lee said, “But these pitchers have done a great job right now. How good they were until August. It is the strength of the pitchers that has allowed us to maintain our ranking so far despite the poor batting performance.”
He added, “It’s time for a drop. Hopefully it doesn’t last too long. Hopefully, we can regroup and come out strong like we’ve been doing. The starters need to go at least five innings, and I think (Kim) Dong-joo and (Kim) Min-kyu didn’t go five innings and came down quickly, so I think the pitchers behind them had a hard time. If the starters can give us at least five innings, we can have the starting rotation we envisioned,” he said positively.