In April, May, and June, Doosan head coach Lee Seung-yeop decided to go all-out with 15 games left in the first half.
The idea was to accumulate as many wins as possible before the All-Star break to start the second half of the season. “We have a week off during the All-Star break, so we’re going to go all out,” Lee said. It was a decision that took into account everything from the effectiveness of the reinforcements, to the state of the other team, the health of the players, and the matchups. The National Hitter’s analysis was spot-on.
During his playing days, Lee was a star player. He holds the KBO record for most home runs (467). He won the home run title and MVP five times. He won 10 Golden Gloves.
It’s a myth that star players don’t succeed as leaders. It’s been pointed out to me that it’s hard to relate to a diverse group of players because of the solid foundation he’s built during his career. On top of that, there were question marks about his “leadership” as he had no coaching experience.
The season has been tested from the start. Foreign pitcher Dylan was sidelined by injury and poor form. We had to call up a replacement, and the batting lineup danced into a slump. Rojas, the foreign batsman, had a roller coaster of a batting performance. The ranking plummeted to 6th place at one point.
As a rookie manager, it was tempting to get impatient, but Lee chanted “Sun-ri.” He waited for the right time and held on. Throughout April, Lee kept repeating the phrase, “I’m going to hang in there.” Then, just before halftime.
At the end of the first half, Lee made his first decision. He brought in a new foreign pitcher, Brandon Waddell. Waddell, who played as a substitute last year, showed more power after playing in the Taiwanese League. In his KBO debut against Kiwoom on April 24, Brandon threw six innings of two-run (one earned) quality starts, followed by seven innings in the next two games. In three games, Brandon is 1-1 with a 0.90 ERA. Credit to the front office and Lee’s quick decisions. Alcantara (9 wins) and Kwak Bin (8 wins) anchor the starting rotation.
As the starting lineup stabilized and the bullpen of Kim Myung-shin, Lee Young-ha, Jung Chul-won, and Hong Gun-hee did their job, Lee’s detail baseball became more solid. The win over Kiwoom on the 9th extended their winning streak to eight games. During the eight-game winning streak, Doosan’s team ERA was 1.85.
It was Lee who noticed the “tip of the ball” of Kim Myung-shin, a key member of the bullpen who threw eight scoreless innings in six of the eight games. The Doosan infield did not commit a single error during the winning streak.
As the mound stabilized, the bats started to come alive. During the eight-game winning streak, Doosan has a team batting average of 32.2 percent. Most importantly, Jose Rojas, a foreign-born hitter who was considered a “bust,” has rebounded perfectly with a 3-for-7 record in eight games. It’s a testament to the manager’s patience in letting him find his groove.
As the winning streak piled up, Lee became more disciplined rather than complacent. Even as the team regained its ‘primary goal’ of a 5 percent winning percentage against the Samsung Lions on April 4, Lee said, “The mood of the team is not bad, so we will try to win as much as possible. We have a long way to go. We can’t stagnate.” He continued to inject tension into the team to prevent them from becoming complacent. After the winning series against Lotte in Ulsan, Doosan won three games against Pohang Samsung and three games against Jamsil Kiwoom to complete an eight-game winning streak. An eight-game winning streak for the first time in 1851 days since the June 6, 2018, dynasty. Doosan advanced to third place and became the strongest team in the middle of the pack.안전놀이터
The ‘team performance’ was the best marketing. During the three-game series against Kiwoom, more than 45,000 fans came to Jamsil Stadium. Merchandise sales were huge, and the team made as much money as the opening game.
Lee still lives in a state of tension. “It’s much better to have a winning streak as a coach than as a player. We can’t afford to relax. We still have a long way to go. When the rainy season ends and it gets hot, it’s really hard. I try to take as many winnable games as I can,” he emphasized.