Doosan Bears’ main hitter Kim Jae-hwan showed off his best hitting skills after the start of the second half, laying the foundation for breaking out of a terrible slump. The team also achieved a dramatic come-from-behind victory and revived the spark of hope toward the top five.
Doosan won 8-7 in the 11th game of the season against the Samsung Lions of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League held at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on the 8th. They continued their upward trend of stopping the KIA Tigers’ 10-game winning streak the previous day and winning 3-0.
Doosan gained a lot from its victory that day. 5th place KIA bowed to the leaders LG Twins with a score of 2-12 and suffered two consecutive losses, narrowing the game gap with 6th place Doosan to 2 games.
What is most encouraging is that Kim Jae-hwan’s batting ability is starting to show signs of recovery. Kim Jae-hwan started as the 5th hitter and left fielder and played a decisive role in Doosan’s victory by hitting hard with 3 hits in 4 at-bats, 1 RBI, and 1 walk.
Kim Jae-hwan vigorously swung the bat in the bottom of the fourth inning when Doosan was down 0-2 with one out and runners on first and second base. He brought home a runner on second base with a clean base hit, giving the team a valuable make-up RBI. Doosan immediately tied the score at 2-2 with Yang Seok-hwan hitting a timely hit with an RBI.
Kim Jae-hwan’s performance continued. In the bottom of the 6th inning, he had another clean middle hit in his third at-bat, recording multiple hits. In the bottom of the 7th inning, he reached first base with a hit to right-center field in his fourth at-bat.
It has been three months since Kim Jae-hwan recorded more than three hits in one game this season since the NC Dinos game on June 15. He recently wiped away the disappointment of being silent with no hits in two consecutive games and signaled an escape from his slump.
Kim Jae-hwan did his part even in his last at-bat. In the bottom of the 9th inning, when Doosan was down 6-7, he came out as the leadoff hitter and walked Samsung pitcher Kim Tae-hoon to get on base, providing a golden opportunity for a counterattack to a team that was on the verge of defeat.
Doosan made a game-winning move by putting in pinch runner Kim Tae-geun after Kim Jae-hwan’s walk got him on base. Lee Yu-chan’s sacrifice bunt and Kang Seung-ho’s timely hit to tie the score brought the game back to square one.
In the ensuing opportunity to end the game with one out and runners on first and second base, pinch hitter Park Gye-beom’s infield grounder resulted in an error by Samsung third baseman Ryu Ji-hyuk, ending a bloody battle that lasted over four hours with a dramatic 8-7 victory. Kim Jae-hwan’s three hits and one walk had a big impact on the game that day.
Kim Jae-hwan is recording a batting average of 0.225 (78 hits in 346 at-bats), 9 home runs, 42 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.683 in 108 games this season. Considering Kim Jae-hwan’s name value and career, this is an unbelievable result.
The pace in the second half is not better. In 31 games, he has a batting average of 0.188 (18 hits in 96 at-bats), 2 home runs, 13 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.570, showing little sense of hitting. The firepower of Doosan’s batting line was also bound to weaken.메이저사이트
In the case of the KIA game on the 7th, when Doosan broke its two-game losing streak, Kim Jae-hwan was completely excluded from the starting lineup and remained on the bench until the end of the game. It was a strategic decision by the coaching staff considering that the opposing starting pitcher was left-hander Yang Hyun-jong, but it is not a good sign in many ways for the team’s leading hitter to be unable to play in a situation where the team is on a losing streak.
Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop continues to place trust in Kim Jae-hwan. I am looking forward to a rebound because I know better than anyone else that Kim Jae-hwan is training very diligently and is trying to break out of his slump. The position is that only if Kim Jae-hwan survives will Doosan get closer to heading to fall baseball.
Before the KIA game on the 7th, Coach Lee Seung-yeop said, “Kim Jae-hwan’s slump is prolonged, but we are waiting for him to return to his original form. The team is frustrated, but he will be more frustrated. He trains a lot with his hitting coach every day before and after the game. He also sent a message saying, “I will be there to help you quickly recover your hitting ability.”
If Kim Jae-hwan’s unique exciting hitting and long ball production come back to life in the remaining games of the second half, Doosan’s battle for the semifinals could also receive a big boost. Kim Jae-hwan’s performance is more urgent than any other player in the remaining 30 games of Doosan’s regular league.