I really want to play.”

“My goal is to play in every game as a player. I want to play every day,” Kim said after training at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Tuesday. “Since I played well with left-handed pitchers after the first-team call-up, I want to play against Ryu this time.”

Doosan, led by manager Lee Seung-yeop, won 7-4 against the Hanwha Eagles in the second game of the 2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League held at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on the day. The Doosan Bears rallied from behind to win 5-3 on the previous day, securing its second consecutive day of victory.

Doosan will seek to gain momentum and win its first three consecutive wins and sweeps of this season. Brandon Waddell, who has been in good condition with three wins and no loss and 1.06 ERA in three games since the opening of the regular season, will start.

Doosan must surpass Hanwha starter Ryu Hyun-jin in order to secure its third consecutive win. Ryu returned to the KBO League in February after 12 years with the contract of the best pitcher in KBO league history, with an eight-year contract with Hanwha totaling 17 billion won.

Ryu Hyun-jin is a living legend in Korean baseball, with a 78-48 record and 3.27 ERA in 186 Major League games. He was named an All-Star in the National League in 2019, ranked first in ERA, and won the Warren Spahn Award in 2020 for the best left-handed pitcher in the Major League.

However, Ryu has been sluggish with two losses and an 8.36 ERA in three games since the opening of the regular season. In particular, he bowed his head to nine hits, two walks, two strikeouts, and nine runs in four ⅓ against the Kiwoom Heroes in Gocheok on the 5th.

Hanwha’s coaching staff believes that Ryu Hyun-jin’s difficulties against Kiwoom will be temporary. With a normal rotation, Ryu Hyun-jin was designated as the starting pitcher against Doosan on the 11th.

Doosan is also vigilant in attacking Ryu. Although Ryu’s batting average for left-handed hitters this season is 0.361 and that for right-handed hitters is 0.357, there is a possibility that he will come up with a strategy to assign more right-handed hitters to the starting lineup. Kim Tae-geun has been appointed as a “left-handed specialist” since his first primary league call-up on May 5, which makes him highly anticipated to play in the game on May 11.

Kim Tae-geun got a chance to start against Sajik Lotte Giants on the 7th and reported a hit against Charlie Barnes, the league’s best left-handed starter, in the 2024 season.

Kim Tae-geun also did his part against Hanwha left-handed foreign pitcher Sanchez on the 9th. Manager Lee Seung-yeop boldly included Kim Tae-geun, who shows strength in left-handed pitchers, in the starting lineup. Kim Tae-geun laid the foundation for his team’s come-from-behind victory by hitting a timely RBI in the bottom of the fourth inning when Doosan was losing 0-3.

“I felt good about the game against Hanwha on the 9th because I got on base with a hit-by-pitch ball in my first at-bat and made a helpful hit to my team in my second at-bat,” Kim Tae-geun said. “However, I was disappointed to strike out in my third at-bat. Although I was calmer, the team could have continued the chance, but I couldn’t stand the falling manned ball. I have reflected on this a lot and keep thinking about it.”

“Personally, I’m confident in hitting left-handed pitchers’ balls. Manager Lee Seung-yeop gave me the opportunity to take good care of me, and I was really grateful,” he said. “Although I was not included in the opening entry, I was preparing as hard as I could in the second division with the mindset that opportunities will come no matter what since the regular season is long.”

Kim Tae-geun, born in 1996, is one of the “Ryu Hyun-jin Kids” who is currently playing in the KBO league. He dreamed of becoming a baseball player while wearing the national flag during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

“When I was an amateur, I only thought about Ryu Hyun-jin, ‘It’s so good to have a player like this in Korea,'” Kim Tae-geun said. “In fact, before joining the professional league, I hoped that strong pitchers like Ryu Hyun-jin would be on the same team, not opponents.”

“After becoming an adult and a professional player, when I see good pitchers, I want to face them at bat,” he said. “I hope I have a chance to play with Ryu Hyun-jin even if it’s not a game on the 11th.”

Kim also briefly revealed his know-how in preparing for the game at the backup position. When a starting pitcher is announced the next day of the game, he immediately watches the video of his pitching for hours and conducts image training in his own way.

“I don’t know if I’ll play or not, but I always watch videos of starting pitchers from the other team numerous times from a day ago. I’m focusing on what kind of pitches I throw and how to set the timing,” Kim said. “This year, I’ve learned some pitching form and pattern in my eyes while watching the videos of Barnes and Sanchez, which led to good results.” 스포츠토토

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