“I personally apologize for making him throw a lot.”
After South Korea’s 3-2 victory over Australia in the first game of the 2023 Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) Qualifier at the Tokyo Dome in Japan on April 16, head coach Ryu Jung-il expressed his apologies to starting pitcher Moon Dong-ju (20-Hanhwa) in the postgame interview. On the day, Moon threw 102 pitches in 5⅔ innings, allowing five hits (one home run), four walks, five strikeouts and two runs in a complete-game shutout.
Manager Ryu Joong-il said, “Moon Dong-ju took about a month off, so we set his pitch count at 80-90 before the game. After the fifth inning, it was time to replace him,” said Ryu. “He said that his balance was too good in the fourth and fifth innings. I thought he could go up to 100 pitches, but I personally apologized for making him throw a lot.”
Moon Dong-ju is an ace that Hanwha has been pampering and protecting since he joined the team last year. As a future ace who will lead Korean baseball beyond Hanwha, his innings and pitch counts are strictly controlled. Due to the innings limit, he finished the season with 118⅔ innings on September 3 against Jamsil LG.
Moon spent the next month preparing for the Hangzhou Asian Games. He lost the first game of the preliminary round on October 2 (4 innings, 3 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 2 runs), but bounced back to win the gold medal game on October 7 (6 innings, 3 hits, no walks, 7 strikeouts, no runs). 온라인카지노 They threw 70 and 92 pitches, respectively.
They then took over a month off to prepare for the APBC.
The game against Australia on the 16th was the first official game in 40 days, and it was difficult for Moon to manage her physical condition as she had to rest and prepare twice since September. After the game, Moon said, “I hadn’t thrown in a long time, so I had a hard time feeling it, and I definitely didn’t have the strength. Not only at the beginning of the game, but the whole time, I felt tired.” “It was my first time throwing since I threw 10 innings at the Asian Games. It wasn’t easy to rest and throw, and then rest and throw again,” he confessed.
A shaky first inning saw him load the bases with two walks and a wild pitch before giving up an RBI single to Clayton Campbell. But in the second inning, right fielder Yoon Dong-hee made a sliding catch and then a double play at third base to help Moon, and he settled down completely in the third inning. His fastball was a little lower than usual at 154 mph, but his changeup worked well. “I threw more changeups than usual,” he said. I had a bomb in the first inning, but I think the changeup was good. The curve was working well,” he said.
After closing out the fifth inning with back-to-back strikeouts and a triple play, Moon took the mound in the sixth. He had thrown 84 pitches by the fifth inning and was expected to be replaced, but as his balance improved over the innings, he showed his willingness to pitch. “I showed my willingness to throw more, so I came up in the sixth inning,” he said. With four games in four days, the bullpen had to be conserved as much as possible.
But in the sixth inning, Choi’s third pitch,
a 150-kilometer fastball to leadoff hitter Alex Hall, sailed high, allowing Woo to hit a solo home run. Pitching coach Choi Il-un headed back to the mound, but Moon Dong-ju stayed in the game without being replaced. “The coach told me that he doesn’t change pitchers. He didn’t ask me if I wanted to pitch more. I think he was going to leave me in from the beginning,” Moon said.
He then got two outs on two infield grounders, but gave up a six-pitch, full-count walk to Jesse Williams. The sixth pitch, a 152-kilometer fastball, hit the body zone, but the umpire’s hand didn’t go up, and Moon looked frustrated. His pitch count rose to 102 pitches and he had to come down without finishing the inning.
“I felt like the zone was very narrow left and right. I saw a robot umpire in a practice game in Korea, and it was similar to that.” “I didn’t get a personal win, but I’m glad the team won. I struggled in the early innings, but I had a good lead from catcher (Kim) Hyung-joon, and I was able to minimize the runs by throwing based on his lead. I wish I could have finished the sixth inning and come down. But I did a good job and the team won, so it’s okay,” he smiled.