“There is no game that is not important.”
Doosan Bears manager Lee Seung-yeop vowed to go all-out against the Jamsil Samsung Lions on Aug. 8. The Bears had dropped to sixth place after losing all of their batting pace since August, but they rebounded with a 3-0 win over the KIA Tigers in Jamsil on July 7. The team gained the momentum to look upward again by halting the momentum of fifth-place KIA, which had won nine straight games, and closing the gap to three games.
Lee’s team showed a strong will to win throughout the game. He used aggressive mercenary tactics and maneuvers from the beginning of the game, sending a strong message to his players that they had to catch Samsung and ride the winning streak.
It started in the fourth inning. Down 0-2, Doosan tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth thanks to RBI singles by Kim Jae-hwan and Yang Suk-hwan. Then, with two outs and the catcher Ahn Seung-han at the plate, Kim In-tae was called up. Kim In-tae was the strongest pinch-hitter available on the Doosan bench at the moment.
In the end, the team failed to pull off the comeback as Kim flied out to shortstop, but it was a meaningful move. Lee had been reluctant to use substitutes all season, preferring to keep his starters in the game as long as possible. Ahn Seung-han’s earlier at-bat may have been influenced by his inability to time Samsung starter Kim Dae-woo’s pitches at all, but regardless, Lee showed signs of change by breaking his own mold.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Kim Jae-ho hit a two-run homer to make it 4-2. However, in the top of the sixth inning, the trusted closer Kim Myung-shin faltered and gave up three runs to make it 4-5. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Heo Kyung-min tied the game at 5-5, but in the top of the seventh and eighth innings, they scored one run each to make it 5-7. It was a close game, literally.
With Kang Min-ho leading off the seventh with a single, Samsung manager Park Jin-man boldly pulled out his pinch-hitter Kang Kang-ul card in the next Jose Pirela at-bat, and after two unsuccessful bunts, he ordered a wild pitch that eventually led to a throwing error by pitcher Kim Kang-ryul, putting runners on first and second with no outs. The next batter, Oh Jae-il, was hit by a pitch, but Ryu Ji-hyuk singled to right with runners on first and second. The run-scoring hit worked, and it set the tone for Samsung until the top of the eighth inning.
Perhaps spurred on by Park’s aggressive game plan, Lee didn’t back down. In the bottom of the eighth, with Jang Seung-hyun batting leadoff, he sent out pinch-hitter Park Jun-young. He had already replaced Ahn Seung-han, and if he replaced Jang Seung-hyun, he would have to use Yang Yang-ji, who had started as a designated hitter, as a catcher in the ninth inning. He was determined to turn the game around, even if it meant giving up a designated hitter, and Park rewarded his manager’s faith with an RBI single. The next batter, Heo Kyung-min, flied out to center field, but Jung Soo-bin drew a walk to put runners on first and second, and Kim Jae-ho, who has been hitting the best of late, followed with a double to left-center to make it 6-7.
Lee tried to shake the Samsung battery once more by signaling Cho to squeeze bunt, but this time, instead of bunting to first base to keep the runner on third safe, Cho bunted to third, where he could live, and the runner on third, Jung Soo-bin, was tagged out at home. It was a costly error.
Lee made another bold move in the bottom of the ninth inning when leadoff hitter Kim Jae-hwan drew a walk. He replaced Kim Jae-hwan with pinch-hitter Kim Tae-geun and sent out pinch-hitter Lee Yoo-chan to bat for Yang Seok-hwan in the No. 5 spot. Yang was leading the team with 18 home runs this season and was 1-for-4 with two doubles and one RBI. Normally, Lee would have trusted Yang and let him walk.
However, Lee chose to send out a hitter who could get on base more reliably. He may have had some residual memories from his last game against the Sajik Lotte Giants on April 4, when he trusted Yang Seok-hwan with runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth inning, trailing 3-4, but he struck out swinging.
Lee laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners on first and second, and Kang Seung-ho followed with a single up the middle to tie the game at 7-7. On the next at-bat, Samsung walked Park Jun-young on an automatic go-ahead single to put runners on first and second. Pitcher Hong Gun-hee came to the plate, and Lee opted to pinch-hit for Park Kye-beom. With only Park Kye-bum and Park Ji-hoon on the bench, Lee sent out Park Kye-bum, who had more first-team experience, as it was a crucial situation.
“Do it confidently,” Lee said to Park as he headed to the plate, and Park smiled as he swung the bat confidently. The pitch was well hit, but it was straight at third baseman Ryu Ji-hyeok, who dropped the ball, allowing second baseman Kang Seung-ho to score and win the game 8-7.
“I was really surprised when it went straight to (the third baseman), but I thought we’d get another chance because it kept going back and forth,” Park said. “It was a good hit, but I thought it was a big deal because it went straight to the third baseman, but (Ryu) Ji-hyeok missed it. (It was recorded as an error, but) it’s okay because the team won anyway,” Park said, laughing.
Lee’s diligence throughout the game paid off as Doosan added a valuable point. Not every choice and decision was successful, and it could have been overwhelming, but it was much better than missing out on all the winnable games due to the bench’s passivity. Trying and failing is a perk of being a rookie coach. That’s why it’s nice to see an all-out war.메이저사이트
Doosan’s two-game winning streak pushed their season record to 57W56L1D with two games in hand on fifth-place KIA. They are three games behind fourth-place SSG Landers. With 30 games remaining, there are plenty of opportunities to shake up the top five.
“Not only do we want to catch KIA, but honestly, we want to catch NC and SSG as well. We’re just trying to focus on winning as much as possible,” Park said. It’s a time when we’re still focused, and there’s an atmosphere in the dugout where we’re talking a little bit more,” Park said, showing his determination to rebound.
Kim emphasized the importance of the doubleheader against Samsung on the 9th. The importance of securing two wins in one day can have a huge impact on the standings battle, which Doosan realized when it topped the 2019 regular season standings.
“It was a really tough game, but I’m glad we won. We were able to win because the younger players did their part at the end,” he said, adding, “We will focus on the doubleheader tomorrow (Sept. 9) and bring home both wins.”