Baby Bear fails to complete five innings, when will he bounce back?

Choi Seung-yong (Doosan Bears) was unable to spark a comeback.

Choi Seung-yong started the Bears’ 2023 KBO game against the LG Twins at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Saturday.

Selected by Doosan in the second round (20th overall) of the 2021 First-Year Player Draft, Choi is a left-hander who was 3-7 with a 5.08 ERA in 63 career games (111.2 innings) through last year. His fastball, which averages in the low-to-mid 90s, and a high-angle curveball are his biggest strengths.

However, Choi has struggled this year, losing his starting job to rookie right-hander Kim Dong-ju early in the season and being sent to long relief. He returned to the starting lineup in May, but failed to impress. Prior to the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) season, he had a 2-6 record with a 5.68 ERA in 12 appearances (10 starts).

Choi Seung-yong was clearly in a precarious position. However, he was unable to go the distance in the game. He gave up a whopping five walks. 스포츠토토

It started off badly. In the bottom of the first, he gave up a single to left to Hong Chang-ki, and then a sacrifice bunt by Park Hae-min put runners on first and second. Park then struck out, but back-to-back walks to Austin Dean and Oh Ji-hwan left the bases loaded. Choi then gave up a walk to Moon Bo-Kyung and a double to Kim Min-Sung, who promptly scored three runs. Lee Jae-won was caught on a foul fly by the catcher to end the inning.

The bottom of the second inning was relatively clean. He gave up a single to Moon Sung-ju and a sacrifice bunt to Hong Chang-ki to put runners on first and second, but he retired Park Hae-min (fly to left) and Park Dong-won (fly to right). In the bottom of the third, he got Austin to ground out to second and then gave up a single to left and a stolen base to Oh Ji-Hwan, but Moon Bo-Kyung (fly to second) and Kim Min-Sung (grounder to shortstop) got the next two outs to end the inning.

The bottom of the fourth inning was no different. Lee Jae-won singled to lead off, but Moon Sung-joo induced a foul fly to the catcher as he tried to bunt. He then induced a grounder to first baseman Hong Chang-ki to end the inning.

However, the bottom of the fifth inning was disappointing. Despite getting Park Hae-min to fly out to left field, he gave up a single to Park Dong-won, prompting Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop to change pitchers to Park Chi-guk. It was the third consecutive game that Choi failed to complete five innings, after giving up three runs in three innings against the KT Wiz in Suwon on 4 April and four runs in 4.1 innings against the KIA Tigers in Jamsil on 10 April.

Park Chi-kook gave way to pinch-hitter Park Dong-won, leaving Choi with four runs on the board.

His final line was 4.1 innings, four runs on five hits and five walks with one strikeout. He threw 82 pitches, most of which were fastballs (33) measured up to 147km/h, with a slider (27). He also threw in a fork (14) and a curve (8).

Fortunately for Choi, the run support from the bats behind him saved him from a personal third straight loss and a seven-game losing streak. However, he now faces the obvious task of improving his pitches.

Meanwhile, Doosan’s bullpen faltered on the day, losing 4-7 to LG. This was Doosan’s third straight loss, leaving them with 29 losses (29 wins and one draw) and their five-game winning streak in danger of collapsing.

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