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Can the Doosan Bears, who returned to the postseason after two years, achieve their first ever wild card upset? Doosan has created miracles in every fall baseball season, earning the nickname 'Miracle', but it doesn't look like it will be easy this year.
Doosan finished the regular season in 5th place this year. At the end of the season, there was a fierce battle for 3rd place with SSG Landers and NC Dinos, but they showed a lack of motivation and fell to 5th place, and the fall baseball season began with the wild card game.
Doosan's opponent is NC, which finished the regular season in 4th place. This season's record against opponents is 8 wins and 8 losses, but in the current situation, Doosan is at a disadvantage in many ways.
First of all, the wild card match will be held at NC's home stadium, Changwon NC Park. Doosan, which does not receive home advantage, must play an away game in a place full of NC fans. It is not the first time traveling to Changwon, but fall baseball is different from the regular season. The atmosphere often affects the game.
The fact that NC is ranked 4th and has one win is also a burden on Doosan. In order for Doosan to achieve an upset, they must win two games. Even if there is a draw, you are eliminated. The only option left for Doosan is all-out war and victory.
Doosan's real concern is the physical depletion of its key players.
As the fierce battle for rankings continued until the end of the season, Doosan players' stamina was depleted. Starting catcher Yang Eui-ji and center hitter Kim Jae-hwan are not in normal condition, and other fielders also have minor injuries. The bullpen, which has been on the mound without a break, is also exhausted.
It was evident that the players were exhausted during their recent three-game losing streak. Since the wild card game is played immediately after a day of rest at the end of the regular season, recovery time is not enough. This is what Coach Seung-yeop Lee is most concerned about.
The good news is that they are not far behind in the starting matchup with NC. Doosan will have native ace Kwak Bin as the starter in the first game.
Kwak Bin, who recorded 12 wins, 7 losses, and an ERA of 2.90 in 23 games this season, had difficulty controlling his condition due to symptoms of phlegm and a cold during the Hangzhou Asian Games. However, he showed his good health by pitching well and allowing 1 run in 6 innings against the KIA Tigers on the 13th, which was his last appearance of the season. He was ordered to appear as a starter in an important game where the team's fate in fall baseball depended.
NC announced foreign pitcher Tanner Turley as the starter for the first game. Tanner, who joined NC as a substitute, recorded 5 wins, 2 losses, and an average ERA of 2.92 in 11 games. Ace Eric Peddie appeared as a starter against KIA on the 16th and suffered a bruise.
If Kwak Bin leads the first game to victory, Doosan can enter the second game with an advantage in the starting matchup.
Doosan selected foreign pitcher Brandon Waddell as the starter for the second game. Brandon, who was re-recruited as a replacement starter, achieved outstanding performance with 11 wins (3 losses) in 18 games and an ERA of 2.49. Although they have never played against NC during the regular season, they are definitely a reliable card. If NC loses the first game, Song Myung-ki is scheduled to appear in the second game.
Meanwhile, since 2015, there has been no case in which the 5th place team defeated the 4th place team in the wild card match and advanced to the semi-playoffs. The LG Twins in 2016 and the Kiwoom Heroes in 2021 finished the regular season in 5th place and took the first game of the wild card, leading to the second game, but in the end, the 4th place team advanced to the semi-playoffs.
Wednesday, October 18, 2023