Our worst fears were realized. A nine-game series, including a doubleheader. This is the fate of the Doosan Bears and Lotte Giants.
The game between Doosan and Lotte at Sajik Stadium on the 2nd was canceled due to rain. This is the second consecutive rainout after the first day’s game. The first game will be rescheduled later, but the second game is different. Between August 5 and September 10, the KBO decided that if one of the Saturday or Sunday games was canceled, the game would be played on the following Monday. That happened to be Saturday, and the game was eventually rescheduled for Monday, Sept. 4.
Both Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop and Lotte acting manager Lee Jung-woon said, “It’s the will of the heavens, the order of things. There’s nothing we can do about it,” but deep down, they wanted to play the game on that day and avoid the Monday game. That’s because both teams have a doubleheader scheduled on the 9th. Doosan will play a doubleheader against Samsung in Jamsil on the 9th, while Lotte will play a doubleheader against NC in Changwon. Assuming the three games on Sunday are played normally, both teams will be scheduled for nine straight games by next week.
Coach Lee Seung-yeop said, “I’ll have to pray.” He was eager to play. Lotte’s acting coach Lee Jong-woon said, “It’s better for us to play as well,” indicating his intention to start the game, but it didn’t happen. The heavens rejected the prayers and wishes of both managers. They held a ‘Kicheng Festival’ to pray for clear weather, but the march from hell was confirmed.
Above all, they were worried about the condition of the players who had to play the nine-game series. Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop said on the 2nd, “We have to play today. If we play until Monday, it will be a nine-game series. If we play a doubleheader, the players will die,” he said.
Especially for Doosan, the starting lineup was completely out of order, with the reorganized starting rotation of Choi Seung-yong (blisters) and Kim Dong-joo (sluggishness) not working properly. While the Lotte game is important right now, all of the focus is on the crucial midweek showdown with fifth-place KIA, so Lee is not happy about the cancellation of the second game. The two teams are currently separated by 2.5 games as fifth-place KIA has won seven straight games.
With the first day’s game already canceled, the idea of focusing on the KIA game has been ruined. The one-two punch of Brandon (Day 2) and Alcantara (Day 3) were scheduled to start against Lotte, but that didn’t happen. Brandon will play on the 3rd, which means he won’t be able to play at all against KIA. The plan for an all-out war was thwarted by the loss of one of the most obvious starting cards in a crucial matchup.
A two-day match would have allowed Brandon to play a seven-day KIA after four days of rest, but this is no longer possible. Alcantara’s rotation is also something to consider. Even if Alcantara is able to make it through the Kia series, it’s unclear how Doosan will handle the four-game series, including a doubleheader against Samsung on the weekend, with an empty starting lineup. “Choi Seung-yong can’t be rushed,” Lee said. It’s still a long way off,” Lee explained. “The whole idea of the starting lineup for next week has been thrown out the window, and we have to worry about the physical strain on the bullpen.
The same is true for seventh-place Lotte, which desperately needs a top-five finish. Lotte also has to play a nine-game series. At a time when they need to move up, they play three games in Ulsan against No. 8 Samsung, then travel to Changwon for four games, including a doubleheader against No. 4 NC. While Doosan will have to travel back to Seoul for a six-game series against Jamsil after Monday’s game on the 4th, Lotte will be able to travel back and forth between Ulsan and Changwon, so traveling won’t be an issue.
However, a nine-game series is certainly not easy for Lotte, which needs to widen the gap between eighth-place Samsung and fourth-place NC. They are currently 3.5 games behind 8th place Samsung and 7 games behind 4th place NC. Sixth-place Doosan is 3.5 games back. In the immediate future, Charlie Barnes, like Brandon, has been pushed back in the starting order, making it difficult to manage his condition. However, Lee explained that “it’s hard for us, but it’s hard for them, too,” and that they can’t just push back their best starter for now. Barnes, like Brandon, was earmarked for a three-day start.안전놀이터
With nine games in a row, there is also a need for alternate starters, and Lee said, “I think if we lose games, new players will emerge. “Since we have a doubleheader, we have (Han) Hyun-hee, (Shim) Jae-min, and (Kim) Jin-wook as alternate starters,” Lee said, pinning his hopes on them.
The remaining schedule is challenging in many ways. It’s a tough schedule for any team, but this year’s schedule has been especially frustrating for the KBO. The frustration that has been building up since the regular season schedule was released is about to explode with the release of the remaining games.
There’s no turning back. In the end, Doosan and Lotte will have to play a pivotal showdown for the fifth spot in a hellish nine-game series.