Hwang Dong-ha in Game 1 + Lee Yi-ri in Game 2… What does manager Kim Jong-kook think ahead of DH?

As the KIA Tigers prepare for their first doubleheader of the season, why are they starting Hwang Dong-ha, not Lee Yi-ri, in the first game of the doubleheader?

KIA will host the LG Twins of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League from Aug. 8-10 at Gwangju-KIA Champions Field. The two teams will play a total of four games, including a doubleheader on the 9th.

Yoon Young-cheol will take the mound on the first day of the series, followed by Hwang Dong-ha and Lee Yi-ri in Game 1 and Game 2 of the doubleheader on the 9th. Kim Gun-gook will start the 10th game 메이저놀이터.

Most notably, Hwang Dong-ha will start the doubleheader instead of the more experienced Lee Yi-ri. Hwang Dong-ha, who was selected by KIA with the 65th pick in the seventh round of the 2022 Korea Baseball Entry Draft, made his first-team debut this year, posting a 5.29 ERA in nine games and 17 innings pitched. In the Futures League this season, he went 6-4 with a 3.43 ERA in 16 games and 76 innings pitched.

This year, Hwang has made two starts with the first team. In his first start, on June 23 against the Gwangju KT Wiz, he took the loss after giving up three runs on four hits (one home run) in two innings with two walks and two strikeouts. In his second start, on June 20 against the Samsung Lions in Daegu, he gave up three runs on four hits (two homers) and one walk in 4⅔ innings, which was a better performance than his previous start. For Samsung, he was praised for doing his job despite the fact that the game was suspended for over an hour due to heavy rain.

“Hwang Dong-ha was prepared by playing a lot of day games in the Futures League, and Lee Yi-ri has a routine of coming out late, so we considered these things (comprehensively),” Kia manager Kim Jong-kook said before the game against LG on Aug. 8, explaining his decision to start Hwang Dong-ha in the first game of the doubleheader.

Kim doesn’t expect an “ace” performance from Hwang, but rather a minimal role as a starter. “I don’t need him to throw a complete game, but I just need him to pitch like he did in his last start (against Samsung). It’s more important to keep the runs to a minimum for three or four innings than to pitch five or six innings.”

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