Doosan faces bigger task than ‘falling to sixth place’ as trusted Pil-Seung pair fails to perform together

The토토사이트“back door” was the problem. It’s even more shocking that the pitchers, who have been trusted by their managers, are struggling. The Doosan Bears dropped to sixth place as they finished the weekend’s three-game series with one win and two losses.

Doosan lost its second straight game on Sunday, falling 5-8 in the 11th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against SSG Landers at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. The team improved to 54-1 (.505) on the season and swapped places with the KIA Tigers, who had won four straight games.

After a 10-1 victory on the first day of the series, Doosan was unable to hold onto a two-run lead the next day, falling 5-7, and lost the 27th game to their opponents in 10 extra innings. Doosan had to settle for one win in a series that could have gone 2-1 or even a sweep.

In particular, on both the 26th and 27th, the team’s top pitchers gave up back-to-back runs. On the 26th, Park Chi-guk, who pitched the top of the eighth inning with a 5-3 lead, gave up three runs in a row on a grounder by Ha Jae-hoon and a solo shot by Jeon Eui-san, while Jeong Chul-won, who pitched the top of the ninth inning with the score 5-6, gave up a run on a push ball by Jeon Eui-san with the bases loaded.

After minimizing bullpen usage in the first game of the series thanks to a strong outing from starter Kwak Bin, Doosan went all out on the 27th for the sweep. After starter Raul Alcantara was pulled after seven innings, they immediately called on Hong Gun-hee, followed by Kim Myung-shin and Chung Chul-won.

Hong, who had pitched a scoreless inning the day before, gave up a solo shot to Choi in the top of the eighth with the score tied at 4-4. That’s when things went south. Kim Myung-shin, who took over the mound in the top of the ninth to extend the game, gave up a double to Kim Chan-hyung in the top of the 10th, and the fourth pitcher, Jung Chul-won, was unable to prevent a run from scoring on a single by Jeon Eui-san after a grounder by Park Sung-ho.

That wasn’t the end of it. Ha Jae-hoon followed with a single and a wild pitch to put runners on second and third, and Kim Sung-hyun followed with a double. Jung was unable to complete the inning, handing the mound over to Kim Yoo-sung. It was the third consecutive game without a run since the 24th against the Gochuk Kiwoom Heroes.

The batters showed their determination to chase down the game by racking up runs, but there was a limit. Pil Seung-jo’s back-to-back runs made it difficult to close the gap.

Through 27 games, Doosan’s team bullpen ERA in August is 5.03, which is relatively high for a team in a top-five race. During this time, most of the bullpen has been underperforming, including Chung Chul-won (7.00 ERA in eight games with one save), Hong Gun-hee (5.59 ERA in 11 games with two losses and one save), Park Chi-guk (5.11 ERA in 12 games with two wins and one loss), and Kim Myung-shin (4.50 ERA in 13 games with one loss and two saves).

The coaching staff is not unaware of the situation. Before the game, Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop said, “These pitchers have done a good job so far. How good they were until August. It’s actually the strength of the pitchers that has allowed us to maintain our ranking despite the sluggishness of the batting lineup, so I think it’s time for the pace to drop,” he said.

“Hopefully, the dip won’t last too long. To reduce the burden on the bullpen, the starters need to go at least five innings. Kim Dong-joo, Kim Min-kyu, and other pitchers who are substitute starters can’t last more than five innings, so I think the pitchers who come off the mound quickly and throw behind them are a bit tired,” he said.

For now, it will be a while before the mound is rebuilt. It’s going to take more than just one or two guys stepping up. It’s time for the pitchers who are still in the first team, as well as those who are preparing to be called up or are down in the second team, to get their act together. Doosan has 36 games remaining, 25 percent of the regular season schedule.

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