Sun. Jan 17th, 2021

SEOUL, Nov. 23 (Yonhap) — Whatever ideas he has on his mind with his bullpen usage or lineup construction, Doosan Bears’ manager Kim Tae-hyoung isn’t going to reveal much.

His team and the NC Dinos are tied at 2-2 in the best-of-seven Korean Series. Ahead of the fifth game at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Monday, Kim said he doesn’t really have set plans for his bullpen management.

“The situation dictates who gets to pitch in each game,” Kim said in his pregame media session. “The guys that have been pitching often are the ones that have been doing well. I am sending out pitchers that I think will win the battle against batters.”

Kim will be using his fifth different starting lineup of the series. Shortstop Kim Jae-ho, the one-man wrecking crew batting 7-for-12 with a team-best six RBIs, is moving up from sixth to fifth in the lineup. Right fielder Park Kun-woo, held out of the starting lineup while stuck in a 1-for-12 funk, is back and batting ninth.

“I penciled him in because I wanted him to go and finish the series on his own terms,” the manager said. “When you’re really struggling, sometimes you’re better off being in a game and seeing live pitching.”

In their 3-0 loss in Game 4, the Bears only managed three hits, and Kim Jae-ho had all three of them. The manager said his batters were due to wake up any moment.

“We’ve got to start hitting better to win. It’s simple as that,” he said. “Our young pitchers have been doing great, and veteran hitters have to start hitting. If they don’t, we’ll lose.”

One of those young pitchers is right-hander Kim Min-gyu, who was a hard-luck loser in Game 4 after holding the Dinos to a run in 5 1/3 innings. He didn’t even give up that run himself — he left with a man on and reliever Lee Young-ha let that inherited runner score.

That outstanding start came on the heels of lights-out relief appearances earlier in the postseason.

Kim, a third-year pro at 21, said those relief outings got him mentally prepared for his Game 4 start.

“I made pitches that I wanted to make, but I was disappointed we lost the game,” Kim said. “Earlier in my career, I didn’t know how to execute pitches because I got so nervous on the mound. I don’t have that problem anymore.”

Kim doesn’t have overpowering stuff but gets by with guile and command. He said he is better suited to a starting job because of that, though he’d still like to throw his fastball harder.

For now, he’s enjoying the spotlight that has accompanied his surprising postseason run.

“I can’t believe I’ve been doing so well,” Kim. “I think my confidence is growing with each game.”

By Bureau