BUSAN, South Korea – With the torrential downpours and approaching typhoon last week, the Giants managed to only play two of a three-game series with Doosan while the entire weekend series with Hanhwa was wiped out. All the games will be replayed at the end of the year and will likely be a lot more important for Lotte then than they are right now.
The Giants dropped both games to Doosan.
The first game of the week really set the tone for the gloomy atmosphere that hung over most of the country all week.
Lotte held a 2-0 lead heading into the sixth inning, but starter Ryan Sadowski gave up a run to cut the lead in half on a RBI sac fly by Doosan backup infielder Kim Jae-ho. Lee’s sacrifice cut the Lotte lead in half.
Lotte added another run in the bottom of the sixth on a RBI double from outfielder Lee In-guh to push the Giants’ lead back to two runs.
Doosan again cut into the lead in the seventh on a RBI single off of Lotte reliever Lim Kyeong-wan in the seventh inning.
Doosan finally tie the game in the eighth thanks in part to an error by third baseman Jeon Joon-woo to start the inning. Jeon’s error allowed Kim Jae-ho to reach base instead of helping Lim Kyeong-wan to record the first out. Lim was pulled for reliever Kang Yeong-sik, and Kang got the first out on a sac bunt, but Doosan’s speedy lead off hitter and center fielder, Lee Jong-wook, was able to reach on a fielder’s choice and put the go-ahead run at third.
Kang was pulled for 22-year-old warm body Jin Myeong-ho. Jin has an ERA just under 10 in very limited action. Jin’s work has been limited for a reason. He’s not very good at throwing baseballs. Jin promptly allowed Doosan to tie the game with a RBI single. Somehow, he got out of the inning without giving up the lead.
The game remained tied in the top of the ninth when Lotte reliever Kim Sa-yul gave up a base-hit, a wild pitch and another base hit to give Doosan a 4-3 lead. The Bears tacked on two more runs on a two-run triple from Lee Jong-wook and the game was basically over.
Doosan closer Jeong Jae-hoon threw a 1-2-3 ninth inning to end the game.
Lost in this game was a solid effort from starter Ryan Sadowski. Sadwoski threw 5 ? innings of one-run baseball. He gave up only five hits, but walked six and only struck out three. Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good.
The second game was washed out, but the weather cleared long enough to play the third game of the series.
Unfortunately, Lotte ace Jang Won-joon didn’t have his best stuff and got knocked around. Former closer, turned starter, now question mark Goh Won-joon was brought in to keep the game close after Jang was chased from the game in the seventh inning.
Goh had been used mainly as a starter since joining the rotation in May. He was clearly uncomfortable coming out of the bullpen and pitched like it. Goh gave up a bunch of runs before he even had time to get lose and hit the showers after only recording a single out.
By the time the dust had settled and the final outs of the seventh inning had been recorded, Doosan had rallied for five-runs. A 4-4 nail-biter was turned into a 9-4 laugher.
Lotte picked up a run in the bottom of the seventh on a solo homer by right fielder Son Ah-seop. Son finished 2-3 with a walk, a triple, a homer, two runs scored and three RBIs in a losing effort.
Brian Corey was recalled from the “Futures” League and was supposed to make another start against Hanhwa, but the game was washed out and it’s anyone’s guess when, or if, Corey will be seen again in the KBO. Song Seung-joon is most likely going to get the next start whenever the weather allows the Giants to take the field again.
Corey is clearly on the outs with the Giants and there’s a good chance he might not wear the uniform again. Non-Korean baseball players are easy scapegoats for a struggling team. We’ve seen players like Doug Clark and David Cruz actually have success and get sent home because the felt they needed to make a change. Any change. Corey has done about as well could be expected considering he’s pitched as a reliever for years, was asked to be a starter, then tossed into a closer’s role and forced to work constantly.
The only real injury concern that Lotte has right now is the left thigh injury that infielder Hwang Jae-gyun suffered almost two weeks ago. We last saw Hwang limp off the field and he’s yet to return to the lineup. He was supposed to miss about two weeks and its been…about two weeks. With any luck, he’ll be back in the lineup this week.
If the weather situation improves, the Giants will start the week by hosting the KIA Tigers. Lotte is scheduled to travel to Daegu for a three-game series over the weekend…weather permitting. Song Seung-joon will likely get the next start, but he hasn’t thrown in over ten days and when he did…it wasn’t pretty. All that means is he’ll thrown a complete-game, two-hitter in his first start and completely fall to pieces in his following start in true Song style.
You can read Matthew's blog, True Stories of Korean Baseball, where he follows the entire KBO each week.
Photo courtesy of Star News