“If I could just get a better initial S rate…” A commander’s last wish for a ’10-win+AG National Team’ ace

He’s doing a good enough job as a homegrown ace, but his head coach had higher ideals. Lee Seung-yeop talks about his expectations for Kwak Bin (24-Dusan Bears).
“Kwak-bin is the best pitcher in Korea if he improves his first-pitch strike rate,” Lee told reporters before the Bears’ 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League home game against SSG Landers at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Wednesday. “I don’t think he will, but I don’t want him to get down in the fourth inning and lose heart,” Lee said.

That’s the hope for Kwak, who threw 98 pitches in four innings the previous day, giving up three runs.

Kwak is 10-7 with a 3.12 ERA in 21 games this season. This is the first time in his career that he has reached 10 wins in a season.

However, since crossing that threshold on May 25, he hasn’t won in three games. He tossed six scoreless innings against the LG Twins on March 31, but collapsed after giving up six runs in 3⅓ innings against the KIA Tigers on March 6, and then gave up three runs on four hits and five walks with three strikeouts in four innings against the Hanwha Eagles on March 12.
The pressure on the ace pitcher is even greater as every game is crucial as the team looks to reclaim fifth place.

“I had thrown 98 pitches by the fourth inning, so you could say I wasn’t in good shape. On a good day, he throws less than 100 pitches in seven innings.” “He has a lot of ups and downs depending on his condition on the day. I think he’s definitely going to pitch for a higher goal, but if he doesn’t close that gap, it’s going to take him a long time to get better.”

Kwak Bin will be called up to the Asian Games squad on the 23rd. He will play at least two games before then. “We still have some important matches before the Asian Games. We need to be strong,” Lee said. “I hope we can prepare for the next game with the pride of being a one-two-three punch with the Korean ace and the foreign pitchers in the team.” 안전놀이터
He is scheduled to pitch on the 17th. He will face the KIA Tigers, who are in fourth place with SSG and two games behind Doosan. He plans to take four days off and pitch on the 22nd, but will have to see how things go.

“The game on the 17th is the key. It’s very important,” he said. “If I’m in good shape, I won’t be able to pull it out quickly. If you’re up 1-0 and you’ve thrown 100 pitches or so, you can pitch the next inning. If you overdo it (that way), you might not be able to pitch on the 22nd. But I think he’s going to pitch on the 22nd, and I think he’s going to be in the starting rotation.”

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