‘Hunting’ Dylan – ‘Injured’ Gwak Bin, Doosan’s May of Crisis

In this season’s KBO League, 3 out of 10 coaches are ‘novice command towers’ who will lead the team for the first time this year. NC Dinos coach Kang In-kwon, Samsung Lions coach Park Jin-man, and Doosan Bears coach Lee Seung-yeop are the main characters. NC, Samsung, and Doosan, led by three novice coaches, are on good terms until the 8th (?) and are tied for 5th and 6th place with a difference of half a game. However, there is a crucial difference between the three novice directors, more precisely, between Kang In-kwon, Park Jin-man, and Lee Seung-yeop.

Coach Kang In-kwon and메이저놀이터 coach Park Jin-man received coaching lessons while working as coaches for at least 7 years and up to 10 years after retiring from active play. And crucially, in 2022, he took over as acting coach instead of coaches Lee Dong-wook and Heo Sam-young, who resigned during the season, and led the team to satisfactory results, and was appointed as the official manager after the season ended. On the other hand, manager Lee Seung-yeop, who had no coaching experience after retiring from active duty, was appointed Doosan manager from a commentator.

When a novice coach who lacks the know-how to break through a crisis runs a long race of 144 games, he has no choice but to go through trials and errors big and small. Coach Lee Seung-yeop also faced a major crisis a month or so after the opening of the season. Foreign pitcher Dylan Pyle, who had been highly anticipated, had a disappointing start with 5 runs in 4 innings in his KBO League debut, and Gwak Bin, one of the league’s best native right-handers, was excluded from the first team entry on the 8th due to a back injury.

‘Novice director’ Lee Seung-yeop’s not-so-bad month

After setting a record of entering the Korean Series for 7 consecutive years, Doosan experienced a fall to 9th place in 2022, gave up on renewing the contract with manager Kim Tae-hyung (SBS Sports commentator), who led the team for 8 years, and appointed new manager Lee Seung-yeop. Coach Lee Seung-yeop is from Daegu, spent his school days in Daegu, and is a ‘Daegu native’ who hit all 467 home runs in Daegu-related Samsung only. However, his leadership career began in Seoul, not his hometown of Daegu.

Doosan, which appointed the best batter ever in the KBO League as the new command tower, spurred preparations for the restoration of honor in the 2023 season. Free agent catcher Yang Eui-ji, who led Doosan’s Korean Series championship in 2015 and 2016, made a comeback with a total of 15.2 billion won in 4+2 years as a free agent, and Raul Alcantara, who won 20 wins in the 2020 season, was also re-recruited for a total of $900,000 did. New foreign pitcher Dylan Pyle, who played an active part in Triple A of the Milwaukee Brewers, was also selected as a candidate to become a ‘real foreign pitcher’.

However, Doosan had a big variable before the season even started. Dylan, who was expected to play an active part as the team’s one-two punch with Alcantara, was injured by a hitter’s head during live pitching in spring camp. If the injured area was an elbow or shoulder, one would quickly know the extent of the injury or the rehabilitation period.

However, Doosan’s starting lineup did not feel much of a void without Dylan for a month after the season began. 2021 Rookie Draft 2nd round 1st round 3rd year prospect ‘Two-mok Bear’ Kim Dong-ju, who joined Doosan with the 10th overall, won his first appearance of the season and showed pitching that exceeded expectations with 1 win and 1 loss with an ERA of 2.14 in 4 games. because In addition, Kwak Bin, a right-hander from the national team, played the role of a native ace with a dazzling pitching record of 3 wins, 1 loss and 0.88 for the month of April.

Doosan was able to build a league-class starting lineup thanks to the performances of Kwak Bin and Kim Dong-ju, who far exceeded expectations, and in the meantime, Dylan also spurred preparations for a comeback by digesting pitching in the bullpen and pitching in practice games. When Dylan returns, manager Lee Seung-yeop plans to further strengthen his left back by lowering left-hander Choi Seung-yong, who showed great performance in the bullpen, to the bullpen in 2022. However, the high expectations of manager Lee Seung-yeop and Doosan fans turned into disappointment within a week of the start of May.

Dylan’s disappointing debut and Kwak Bin’s back injury

Dylan made his KBO League debut in a home game against the Hanwha Eagles on the 4th. It must have been coach Lee Seung-yeop’s consideration to make his debut on the Korean stage at the pitcher-friendly Jamsil Baseball Stadium against Hanwha, which was at the bottom at the time. Dalon did not strike out, but he blocked the Hanwha batters without a run until the third inning with a fast ball in the mid-140km per hour and various breaking balls. Doosan fans dreamed of Dylan’s success and raised their expectations.

However, in the 4th inning, Dylan allowed a solo home run to lead batter Noh Si-hwan and a two-run home run to Kim In-hwan, giving up 3 runs. Dylan, who threw 89 balls in 4 innings, finished his KBO League debut with 5 hits (2 home runs, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 5 runs (5 earned)). It was also a problem that the number of balls rapidly increased from the 4th inning, but Dylan hit the batter in the first appearance.

Doosan, who recorded a losing series against Hanwha in 3 consecutive matches during the week, took a sweet break due to the rain on the 5th and 6th days in a row, then selected local ace Kwak Bin, who took a 6-day break in the 7th game . The starting pitcher for LG was also Casey Kelly, who won the most wins in 2022, but Kelly recorded a disappointing record with 1 win, 2 losses and 5.06 for the month of April this season. There were many, but the results of the match were completely different from the expectations of Doosan fans. 

In the first inning, Kwak Bin allowed a sacrifice fly to Austin Dean and a timely double to Oh Ji-Hwan, giving up two runs. In the second inning, Kwak Bin allowed a two-run home run to Dong-Won Park and the bases were loaded safely. Later, as two more runners in charge of Gwak Bin came in, Gwak Bin’s record for the game that day became 1.1 innings, 4 hits, 3 runs, 6 runs (6 earned). In the end, Kwak Bin was excluded from the first team entry on the 8th due to a back sprain.

Dylan has only pitched one game on the domestic stage, so there’s plenty of room for his performance to improve once he’s settled into the league. Gwak Bin may also skip rotation once or twice before recovering his good pitch in April. However, it is clear that Dylan’s hunting and Kwak Bin’s injury caused a major setback to manager Lee Seung-yeop’s plan to start building wins in May. Will coach Lee Seung-yeop be able to wisely overcome this crisis and bring Doosan back to the top?

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