“It’s good to win, but I hope it’s a chance for Korean baseball to go up,” said Ryu Jung-il, the head coach of Korea’s 2023 Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) team, ahead of their final game against Japan.
“This tournament was created to help young people improve their skills,” Ryu told reporters before the final game at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday.
This is the second year for the tournament, which began in 2017 and is limited to players aged 24 or younger or in their third year as a professional, except for wild cards.
“It would be great to win, but (basically) I want them to think of it as a tournament to improve the skills of young players,” Ryu said, “You don’t win because you want to win, and you don’t lose because you want to lose.”
“It’s the second game against Japan, and I hope they feel a lot of things,” he said, adding, “Japanese pitchers have good pitches overall, so I hope they can learn by watching.”
Korea lost 1-2 to Japan in the second game of the preliminary round of the tournament on July 17.
The lineup was Kim Hye-sung (second baseman), Kim Do-young (third baseman), Yoon Dong-hee (right fielder), Noh Si-hwan (first baseman), Kim Hui-jip (designated hitter), Kim Joo-won (shortstop), Kim Hyung-joon (catcher), Moon Hyun-bin (left fielder), and Choi Ji-hoon (center fielder). The starting pitcher will be Kwak Bin (Doosan Bears).
“I watched his game during the training camp, and he looked like he hadn’t pitched in a while,” Ryu said of his opponent, Tatsuya Imai (Seibu Lions). “He threw a lot of changeups because he couldn’t control his fastball,” he added.
Imai, a sixth-year starter, set career highs in 2023 with a 10-5 record, 130 strikeouts and a 2.30 ERA in 19 games and 133 innings pitched. For his career, Imai is 38-32 with a 3.69 ERA.
He has a fastball that tops out at 159 kilometers per hour and a variety of changeups. However, he walked 61 batters (4.13 per nine innings) in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) this year, tied for first in that category. 파워볼사이트