“The hitters are actually pretty good.”
The Asian Games baseball team, led by Ryu Jung-il, will depart for Hangzhou, China, on Aug. 28 via Incheon International Airport. The team completed its final domestic training session at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on the afternoon of the 27th.
At the ceremony, head coach Ryu Jung-il made his exit speech. “I think we’re ready,” Ryu said. The pitchers and batters are in good shape. Our coaching staff and players will work together as a ‘one team’ to win the gold medal.”
The first mountain to climb is Taiwan. Baseball at the Asian Games is expected to be a three-way battle between South Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Japan. But it’s Taiwan that Korea will face first in the first round. Korea and Chinese Taipei are in Group B together, so they’ll be facing each other quickly. Starting with Hong Kong on October 1, followed by Chinese Taipei on October 2, and then the first round against the qualifiers on October 3, they will have to pass the first round to get to the Super Round. In the first round, they only need to finish in the top two of their group, and they will face Japan once in the Super Round.
The team is especially determined to defeat Chinese Taipei in order to take control of the early momentum battle. Everything went wrong at the WBC in March, when they failed to knock off Australia, their first target.
The team is also choosing its starting pitchers very carefully. Head coach Liu Zhong-il hinted at a plan. “I’m thinking about it. If I had to give you a tip, it would be Kwak Bin or Moon Dong-ju. We have to choose one of them.”
Kwak Bin and Moon Dong-joo, two of the KBO’s top starters and fastballers, are expected to take center stage against Taiwan. The reason for the team’s last-minute decision is to find a pitcher who can more easily overcome the Taiwanese hitters.캡틴토토
“We are thinking about Kwak Bin’s pitching trajectory, Moon Dong-joo’s pitching trajectory and the swing trajectory of Taiwanese hitters. We’re trying to figure out which of them will be more difficult to hit.”
While the main reason for the Korean team’s caution is the fact that Taiwan’s pitching staff includes four top prospects from the U.S. minor leagues, the batting lineup is just as formidable. There are minor leaguers in the outfield, and the young hitters who play in Taiwanese professional baseball are also very good. “We focus on pitching, but Taiwan’s batting lineup is no slouch either. They have a lot of good hitters,” he said.
The team must win the game against Taiwan on October 2. We have to be careful with our starting pitching and batting order. The big day is less than a week away. The team is looking to learn from their mistakes and find the right answers.