Head coach Kim Jong-kook, ‘reversal defeat → three consecutive losses’…”What was the most unfortunate scene?” “Allowed a walk in the top of the ninth inning.”
KIA came from behind to lose 6-8 in Game 13 of the season against Doosan Bears of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Gwangju-KIA Champions Field on the 15th. KIA, which has been mired in three consecutive losses, has gone 60 wins, 2 draws and 55 losses (0.522), and its ranking has also fallen one notch from 4th to 5th. As the gap with sixth-ranked Doosan completely disappeared, the red light turned on for fifth-ranked Mercury.
Starting pitcher Yoon Young-chul was sluggish with six hits (one home run) and two outs in 3⅔3 innings, but batters scored with Lee Woo-sung’s grand slam in the bottom of the fourth inning and Kim Sun-bin’s one-run double in the bottom of the fifth inning. On top of that, Lim Ki-young, who took the mound as a relief pitcher in the top of the sixth inning, did his job by blocking two scoreless innings. The game seemed to be leaning toward KIA.
However, KIA, which was tied by Park Joon-young in the top of the eighth inning, lost the lead with consecutive pushing walks by Kim In-tae and Park Joon-young in the top of the ninth inning, and eventually had to accept its third consecutive loss without scoring any more. Closer Jung Hae-young, who took the mound ahead of the top of the ninth inning, took the loss with one hit, three outs, one strikeout and two runs in ⅓ innings.
Before Game 14 of the season against Doosan was canceled due to rain on the 16th, KIA manager Kim Jong-kook said, “It’s a pity that I gave a lot of walks in the ninth inning,” adding, “It’s a bit okay if I hit a hit or a home run by my opponent, but there are other parts that we did well overall.”
“I should have faced (the batter), but I think I could see that I was trying to go with difficulty.” I don’t think I tried to fit, but there’s something I’m a little disappointed about. We need to play head-to-head so that we can overpower the opponent, and we can induce or strike out,” he said. “We did well in a situation where the batters had to score, but it was a little disappointing at the end.” “I think we should forget quickly and prepare well so that we can win.”
At the beginning of the game, there was also a dizzying scene. After third baseman Huh Kyung-min’s throwing error in the bottom of the second inning, batter Lee Woo-sung ran to second base and collided with a first base umpire who did not see it, and failed to get up for a while after falling on the ground. He stepped down due to a tag-out because it was an in-play situation, but regardless of whether he was out or safe, he almost suffered a major injury. In the last at-bat in the bottom of the eighth inning, Kim Myung-shin’s fifth fastball hit his leg and was replaced by pinch hitter Oh Sun-woo to protect the player.
Lee Woo-sung avoided major injuries, but the head coach explains that he needs a break for the time being. Head coach Kim Jong-kook said, “(About the collision situation), “The referee didn’t do it on purpose, and didn’t he try to avoid it together?” “I’m sorry, but what will I do?” he said. “I don’t think it will be easy for Lee Woo-sung to play for two to three days.”
If the game was played on this day, KIA took out the lineup in the order of Kim Do-young (shortstop), Choi Won-joon (right fielder), Na Sung-bum (designated hitter), Choi Hyung-woo (left fielder), Socrates Brito (center fielder), Kim Sun-bin (second baseman), Hwang Dae-in (first baseman), Byun Woo-hyuk (third baseman) and Han Jun-su. The starting pitcher was Hwang Dong-ha.
The game, which was canceled on the 16th, was reorganized on the 18th, the preliminary day, and KIA has to play eight consecutive games. Thomas Panoni and Hwang Dong-ha will be selected as starters on the 17th and 18th, respectively.