Go to contents

No More Chicken

Posted October. 17, 2001 09:21,   


Doosan closer Jin Pil-Joong was asked after the playoff game three with the Hyundai on 15th. ``You have been unstable on the mound so far. Did you recover your normal condition?`` Jin`s answer was rather strange. ``I`ve never been nervous on the mound. My physical condition has always been good, and the situation has merely been changed according to whether the opponent hitters hit my balls well or not.``

Although he expressed his confidence like that, he has been unstable on the mound from the perspective of the bench, at least in the postseason. Until last year, Jin recorded one win, four losses and one save in the postseason. Especially, he had to shift his position from special closer to starter. Thus he got the nicknames such as `detonating fireman` and `chicken`.

Doosan Manager Kim In-Sik had to burn his heart with anguish in playoff game one and two because of unfaithful pitching of Jin Pil-Joong. In 1-1 eighth inning of the game one, Jin got four earned runs allowing a three-run double to Park Kyung-Wan. In game two, even though he won a save, he did not show such a credible pitching allowing a run in the ninth inning.

In game three which became a watershed of the playoffs, however, Jin perfectly closed the game, shaking off the worries about his so far poor performance. As a relief, Jin shut out 7 hitters with three strikeouts to save the game. Jin`s fast ball reached 148 km to arouse the exclamation of the fans. In particular, it was remarkable that he used the curves and breaking balls that he has barely thrown before. Jin said, ``I thought that the opponent hitters fully prepared for the monotonous pitching pattern focusing on the fast balls. So, I threw a variety of balls such as knuckle ball, sinker, rising fast ball except slider.``

Jin`s dream is the team`s victory in the Korean Series. And Jin now has an ambition to advance the major league after leading the team to the champion. Manage Kim In-Sik expressed his support for Jin`s ambition, saying that ``many domestic pitchers can pitch the fast balls as Jin can, but little has a ball control just as Jin has.`` It is Jin`s hope to embellish remarkably the final stage in Korea.

Kim Sang-Soo ssoo@donga.com