“Nothing has been decided, but even in the fall, no matter what the situation is, I have to go out and throw whatever (Yang) Eui-ji signs.”
Doosan Bears’ sure-to-win Kim Myung-shin (30) smiled brightly after making the save that confirmed his team’s advancement to the postseason. On the 14th, Myeong-shin Kim took the mound in the bottom of the 9th inning against the LG Twins in Jamsil, ahead 3-2, with no outs on first and second base, and preserved the victory by pitching 12 pitches and no runs in one inning. It was a valuable save achieved seven years after joining Doosan in 2017 and making his professional debut.
It is true that his heart sank as all three of his batted balls reached the outfield. Kim Myung-shin overcame a critical juncture by handling the first batter, Austin Dean, with a fly ball to left field. It looked like it was going to be a hit as he bent to the left of left field, but left fielder Jo Su-soo quickly chased after the batted ball and caught it. Afterwards, the game ended with Oh Ji-hwan hitting a fly ball to right field and Moon Bo-kyung hitting a fly ball to center field. Both Oh Ji-hwan and Moon Bo-kyung’s batted balls reached the front of the fence, but were caught in the outfielders’ gloves at the last moment.
Kim Myung-shin said, “I thought the first hitter, Austin, was a hit, and the other two were home runs. I felt good because the ball didn’t go as far as I thought. I wonder if I can say this, but I thought it wasn’t my runner anyway. If I block it, I did well, and if I give it a point, what can I do? “I thought I couldn’t do it, but I did my best according to Ui-hyung’s signature. Ui-hyung’s lead was amazing,” he said, looking back and smiling broadly.
Regarding the save that confirmed Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop’s first postseason advancement, Kim Myung-shin said, “It is meaningful because I came out of school well because of my school ties and Jiyeon, so it was a relationship. At a critical moment, it gave the team strength to fight for the rankings at the end.” “I feel good about it,” he said, smiling. Director Lee is Kim Myeong-shin’s senior at Gyeongbuk High School.
Thanks to this, Doosan received an invitation to fall baseball for the first time in two years since 2021. With a season record of 74 wins, 65 losses, and 2 draws, they erased the 6th place KIA Tigers’ tragic number 1. With the win that day, Doosan tied for third place with SSG Landers (74 wins, 65 losses, 3 draws) and NC Dinos (74 wins, 65 losses, 2 draws). With three games remaining in the regular season, the fierce battle for third place has begun. Doosan reset its goal to win all remaining games and enter the postseason as high as possible.
From 2015 to 2021, Doosan became the first KBO to advance to the Korean Series for seven consecutive years and built a dynasty by winning three championships (2015, 2016, 2019). It is true that the pride of all players was hurt as they fell to 9th place, the lowest ranking in the club’s history last year. The club attempted to revamp the atmosphere by appointing a new coach, Lee Seung-yeop, and achieved half of the success by advancing to the postseason in the first year of coach Lee’s appointment.
Kim Myung-shin is a bullpen pitcher who made the biggest contribution, including the save on this day, in helping Doosan advance to fall baseball this season. He threw 1,432 balls this season, ranking overwhelmingly first among relief pitchers. 2nd place is Noh Kyung-eun (SSG, 1389 districts) with 43 points. It ranks 5th in number of games (69 games) and 3rd in innings (78⅓ innings). Within Doosan, it is overwhelmingly first in terms of number of pitches, number of games, and innings. The contribution was so high that Doosan pitcher manager Hong Geon-hee said, half jokingly and half seriously, “(Kim) Myung-shin really needs to be treated better than he is now.”
Kim Myung-shin is not a pitcher who throws a fastball, which is often considered an essential virtue of a winning team. The fastball velocity is in the low 140 km/h range, which is slow, but its great strength is its precise control that allows it to overcome the speed of the ball. Catcher Yang Eui-ji fights with batters by hitting the ball accurately wherever he puts his mitt. For Coach Lee, who hates pitchers who walk the most, Kim Myung-shin was the best pitcher. Coach Lee’s faith was reflected in the number of games, pitches, and innings.
Since he is not a pitcher who threatens with his pitches, he naturally rarely has to step up to save situations. He said that this day was his second save opportunity in his professional debut. His first opportunity came against the Jamsil KIA Tigers on September 1, 2021, and he suffered a loss after allowing a home run to Choi Won-jun. In addition, Yoo Hee-gwan, who was attempting to become the first Doosan left-hander to win 100 games at the time, was even more shocked by his victory.
Kim Myeong-shin said, “Maybe it’s because I’m not a fast pitcher, but I didn’t have many opportunities. I had one chance when (Yoo) Hee-kwan missed his brother’s 100th win, and this is the second time. I remembered that time, and I thought I’d give it a try this time.” did.
He’d be lying if he said he wasn’t tired after throwing so many balls throughout the season. A turning point came in the middle of summer, with the average ERA soaring by 4.11 points in August. Still, he persevered and carried out his mission. He achieved his personal season high of 24 holds, having amassed 12 since September alone. His previous record was 10 holds last year.
Kim Myeong-shin said, “After playing the season, I realized that I could throw well if my ball was good, and that I couldn’t throw if I didn’t have a good ball. There is a flow, and I think I need to pay attention to corner work and ball combination, not going back and forth depending on the condition. The results would have been bad. “I don’t think it was because of lack of power, but I think it was the result of the hitters hitting better and preparing well. We may have lost power, but it wasn’t a problem,안전놀이터” he said calmly.
Kim Myung-shin is expected to be a sure-to-win team until the last moment of the battle for third place. The same goes for the fall stage. This is especially true because there is currently no clear closing pitcher. Hong Geon-hee, who started the season as a closer, stepped down from his position in mid-August due to worsening ups and downs, and Jeong Cheol-won, who took over the baton, recently lost his sense of stability to the point where he recorded 9 blown saves, so he stepped down from his position as a closer. Coach Lee said that for the remainder of the season, he will try to shut down the game by bringing in good pitchers for each situation. Kim Myung-shin, Kim Kang-ryul, Park Chi-guk, and Lee Young-ha will share the burden of cracking down on backdoors.
The Doosan team enjoyed the joy of returning to fall baseball after two years. Kim Myeong-shin said, “Last year, when we finished 9th and had a finishing camp, I saw other teams playing baseball. We always played it, so it didn’t hit me (not playing fall baseball), but seeing other teams play gave me a different feeling. Next year. “I remember saying to my teammates that we would do it again. I feel good that it happened, and I feel good that I played a part in it,” he said.
Even on the postseason stage, Kim Myung-shin pledged that he would not shy away from difficult tasks for his team. He said, “There is nothing set in stone, but I will go out in any situation and throw whenever Ui-hyung signs. I never shake my head when Ui-hyung signs. I will throw at every corner as soon as Ui-hyung signs. Until now, I have only thrown when (the game) is tilted. I think so. I feel the same way in important games, but pitchers with power on the ball seem to work well, so I’m worried about that. Still, I’ll do my best,” he said.