Gold medal heartache, 25 days after battling gall bladder Doosan’s No. 5 shooter has 155km ace in hand
Doosan’s 155km ace Kwak-Bin Kwak, 24, will take the mound for the first time in 25 days after shaking off a broken foot suffered at the Hangzhou Asian Games.
The Doosan Bears are set for their 16th meeting of the season against the KIA Tigers of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Wednesday.
Doosan kept its semifinal playoff hopes alive with an 11-1 victory over NC in a fateful game at home the day before. Prior to the game, they were in fifth place, 1.5 games behind third place with two straight losses, but with the win over NC, they moved within one game of third-place SSG and half a game of fourth-place NC. A three-inning no-hitter from Lee Young-ha and a home run show from Jose Rojas, Yang Ji, and Heo Kyung-min were the difference makers.
However, the remaining schedule is still a thorny one. With five games left in the season, they have to play back-to-back days, and with sixth-place KIA’s win the day before, the fifth spot is not yet secure. That’s why the game on the 13th is called another fateful match. A win for Doosan, which is two games ahead of sixth place, would virtually guarantee a spot in fall baseball, but the opposite scenario would leave the fifth-place battle up in the air until the end of the season.
For the fifth-place shootout, Doosan has called up returning homegrown ace Kwak Bin to start. Kwak is 11-7 with a 2.97 ERA in 22 games, and he was at the Hangzhou Asian Games on Sept. 18 after tossing six shutout innings of relief against the Gwangju KIA. It was his first time on the mound in 25 days.
Kwak Bin was forced to pull out of the first game of the Hangzhou Asian Games against Hong Kong when he developed a gall bladder in his right wing bone. This meant he had to miss out on the gold medal he so desperately wanted. Kwak Bin shook off the injury late in the tournament and was in the bullpen for the Super Round against China. Afterward, he returned to Doosan and received passing grades in catching and bullpen pitching.
Kwak Bin has been strong against KIA this year, going 3-1 with a 3.48 ERA in four games. His last win before the Asian Games was also against KIA. The key is his physical condition, but Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop said, “He was in the bullpen against China and Taiwan at the Asian Games. There is nothing wrong with his body.”
KIA countered with substitute starter Kim Gun-guk. His record this year is 5-0 with a 6.08 ERA, and in his most recent start on September 26 against the Changwon NC, 온라인카지노 he threw 4⅔ innings of one-run ball to help his team win 6-4.
Kim will be facing Chinjung Dusan for the first time this season. He last faced Doosan on Aug. 18, 2020, when he was with Lotte and threw 2⅔ scoreless innings in relief.
This is the final meeting of the season between Doosan and KIA. Doosan leads the all-time series 11-4.