Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

“It’s annoying”.

The Doosan Bears have been on a steep upward curve in July to reach third place. The team had three wins and three losses by the end of June, but a 10-game winning streak from 1 July turned them into a seven-game positive. The bullpen was the driving force. 스포츠토토 Not only did the pitchers pitch well, but veteran catcher Yang Yang-ji’s relentless pitch mix also played a big role.

During the 10-game winning streak, the Doosan bullpen ranked first in ERA (1.78). The starters posted a 2.29 ERA and the relievers a 1.00 ERA. With the addition of new outfielder Brandon Waddell, the starting rotation has been solid. The bullpen, led by closer Hong Gun-hee and closer Jeong Chul-won, was also solid without a single poor pitcher.

Yang got out of a jam with a brilliant pitch. On the 21st, he showed what he can do in Gwangju against the KIA Tigers. Trailing 0-1 with two outs in the bottom of the third inning, he fouled off a tricky Socrates in a nine-pitch battle. With the count 2-2, he induced four consecutive forked balls to get out of the jam.

Then, in the bottom of the fifth inning with the score 1-1 and runners on first and second, he fanned Kim Do-Young on five pitches. In the bottom of the seventh inning, he swung at a fastball and was blocked, breaking his bat and becoming a pitcher’s mound. He continued to poke at pitches that curved towards him at first and third base, eventually inducing a foul fly to the first baseman.

Against the next batter, Na Sung-beom, he fought hard and induced a foul fly to the catcher and a ground ball to the third baseman. Yang’s persistence in the clutch was the key to Doosan’s 5-2 victory. “He tried to hit everything he could see and got caught by Yang Ji,” Kim Jong-kook, the opposing manager, told Kim Do-young. He even hit a ball that curved deep into his body and failed to score.

Coach Lee Seung-yeop also applauded Yang’s presence. “All pitchers have the effect of Yang Ji. He is so relentless with his pitches that he annoys the opposition. His determination is the reason why pitchers are on the rise. I can feel it when I see it, and even if I don’t say it, the backup catchers and players who don’t play will feel it.”

Doosan paid 15.2 billion won to bring back Yang, who was eligible for free agency for the second time after last season. Both Hanwha and Kia were big bets, but Yang chose his family. With his ultimate pitching and defence, he is well worth the huge price tag. On top of that, his offensive output was outstanding, with a batting average of .329, eight home runs, 40 RBIs, 31 runs scored, and an OPS of .920. Definitely worth the 15.2 billion won.

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