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With club on verge, Bears' manager planning ahead for Korean Series

All News 18:07 November 10, 2021

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Nov. 10 (Yonhap) -- Some say the worst thing you can do in sports is looking past the immediate task at hand. But don't tell that to Kim Tae-hyoung, manager of the Doosan Bears whose club sits on the verge of reaching the championship stage in South Korean baseball.

The Bears will secure a record seventh consecutive trip to the Korean Series with a win over the Samsung Lions on Wednesday in the penultimate round of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) postseason. The Bears won the first game of this best-of-three series by 6-4 Tuesday night.

And if the Bears do get there, Kim said Wednesday he expects to have the services of his injured ace, Ariel Miranda.

Members of the Doosan Bears celebrate their 6-4 victory over the Samsung Lions in Game 1 of the second round in the Korea Baseball Organization postseason at Daegu Samsung Lions Park in Daegu, some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Nov. 9, 2021. (Yonhap)

Miranda, who led the regular season with a 2.33 ERA and 225 strikeouts, hasn't pitched since Oct. 24 with shoulder fatigue. The Bears have played all six postseason games so far without the Cuban left-hander.

"He has resumed throwing. And if we reach the Korean Series and Miranda is pain free, we'll put him on our roster," Kim said in his pregame interview Wednesday at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. "We'll have him on the mound for at least one game."

In this file photo from Oct. 24, 2021, Ariel Miranda of the Doosan Bears pitches against the LG Twins in the top of the third inning of a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

The Bears said Miranda threw from 30 meters out on Tuesday and then 40 meters out earlier Wednesday.

Before Miranda went down, the Bears had already lost their other foreign starter, Walker Lockett, who left for the United States to undergo elbow surgery on Oct. 20.

The Bears are trying to become the first KBO team ever to reach seven straight Korean Series. Kim took over the team in Year 1 of that streak.

Jose Pirela of the Samsung Lions (R) hits an RBI double against the Doosan Bears in the bottom of the first inning during Game 1 of the second round in the Korea Baseball Organization postseason at Daegu Samsung Lions Park in Daegu, some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Nov. 9, 2021. (Yonhap)

"It's more important to win the Korean series than to just play there," Kim said. "Results count more than anything else."

Kim's Lions counterpart, Huh Sam-young, doesn't have that same luxury. He has to win Wednesday or the Lions' first postseason in six years will end after just two games.

Huh juggled his lineup after the Lions wasted two bases-loaded opportunities in Tuesday's loss. Outfielder Koo Ja-wook, who homered and had two RBIs Tuesday, moved up from No. 3 to No. 2 in the order. Designated hitter Jose Pirela, who hit a double out of the sixth spot in Game 1, will bat third on Wednesday. Oh Jae-il is the new cleanup hitter after batting fifth Tuesday.

"Last night's game is already in the past, and we just have to worry about tonight's game," Huh said. "I think our players carried too much pressure on their shoulders. I wish I would have made things more comfortable for them. But we have no regrets. We just have to keep moving forward."

The Lions led 2-0 after the first inning but the Bears went ahead in the top second with three runs, never to trail again.

"The biggest key is we don't want to see their best relievers on the mound," Huh said. "We have to take the early momentum and keep it on our side."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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