Young Gun Kim, 21, burst onto the scene early in the season and anchored the Doosan Bears’ starting rotation.
The fears are coming true. In his first full season, he’s getting a little tired.
A situation that needs to be managed. But the team situation is the worst. We can’t do this or that. The bench woes are snowballing.
Kim Dong-joo has been going through a hot and cold spell lately, with one good game and one bad game.
Before the game against Samsung in Jamsil on March 24, Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop mentioned Kim Dong-ju’s declining fitness and explained, “Depending on the result, we can adjust him by one turn.” The alternative was veteran Jang Won-jun, who had won his 130th career game the day before, a victory over Samsung in 1844 days.
Jang didn’t have an immediate start scheduled, but was kept on the roster to await the outcome of Kim Dong-joo’s game.
However, Kim Dong-joo seemed to allay the bench’s concerns with a stellar five-inning no-hitter against Samsung Electronics on the 25th. Jang Won-jun, who was also on the bench, was immediately removed after the game.
After the game was postponed due to rain, Kim took the mound against Suwon KT on the 3rd for the first time in ten days.
Despite being well-rested, the results were concerning: five runs on eight hits, including a home run in the first three innings. It was his lowest innings pitched, most hits, and most runs allowed this season. To make matters worse, in the second inning, Hwang was hit in the left shin by a Hwang Jae-gyun fastball. He taped it up and kept throwing, and thankfully it wasn’t a major injury, but it’s a foot he uses to pitch, so there are concerns about bruising aftereffects.
Before the next day’s game against Suwon KT, Lee said, “Actually, I think I’m a little tired. I think I’m physically tired even though I threw with a lot of rest, so my arm comes down, and when I throw a slider, it comes down even more.” Lee was concerned that his strength had dropped a bit.
“If we can afford it, we should actually skip it and give him a break so that he can adjust his condition, but it’s not like that…” Lee said, adding, “I don’t have any other alternative.”
Doosan has been without its top three starters in Dylan Pyle, Kwak Bin and Choi Won-jun due to injuries and poor form. Kwak Bin is set to return 안전놀이터 against KIA in Jamsil on April 11, but Dillon and Choi will need a little more time. Left-hander Choi Seung-yong, who had a strong start to the season alongside Kim Dong-joo, is also showing signs of fatigue.
Starting all-arounder Jang Won-jun was used to fill in for Choi Won-jun. He will make his second start of the season against Hanwha on the 6th. There are no more insurance cards.
A frustrating situation with no alternative. For now, we can only hope that Kim Dong-ju can overcome it on his own.