“I think I was conscious of Kim Do-young even though I tried not to be.”
Moon Dong-ju, the Hanwha Eagles’ top prospect, suffered his eighth loss of the season on April 27 against the Gwangju KIA Tigers, giving up five runs on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings.
The start was perfect. He struck out KIA’s Park Chan-ho, Kim Do-young, and Na Sung-beom in the first inning, Choi Hyung-woo, Socrates, and Kim Sun-bin in the second, and Byun Woo-hyuk, Han Jun-soo, and Choi Won-joon in the third.
The Hanwha bats also showed their strength. Kim Tae-yeon opened the scoring with a solo home run in the top of the first inning and added another run in the top of the third inning on an RBI sacrifice fly to center field to give Moon Dong-joo a 2-0 lead.
However, Moon struggled against the KIA bats in the bottom of the fourth inning. After leading off with a single up the middle, he walked Kim Do-young on a full count to put runners on first and second with no outs. Na Sung-beom struck out Na to give himself a breather, but the situation worsened when he gave up a single to Choi Hyung-woo to load the bases. He then gave up a two-run double to Kim Sun-bin to tie the game at 2-2.
Moon put his head down again in the bottom of the sixth inning. After giving up back-to-back singles to leadoff hitters Kim Do-young and Na Sung-beom, he gave up a two-run double to Choi Hyung-woo to make it a 4-2 game.
The Hanwha bench, mired in a five-game losing streak, made a gamble by replacing the pitcher with Kim Bum-soo, but Kim gave up an outfield sacrifice fly to Kim Tae-gun with the bases loaded to further widen the gap to 2-5. Choi Hyung-woo, Moon’s successor, scored to extend Moon’s lead to five runs.
Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho cited Moon’s leadoff battle with Kim Do-young in the bottom of the sixth inning as the reason for the loss to KIA. He believes that Moon Jong-du, who did not want to lose the game against his former teammate, with whom he had a good-natured rivalry since their amateur days, was shaken after being hit by Kim Do-young.
In the summer of 2021, when Moon was a junior at Gwangju Promotion High School and Kim was a senior at Gwangju Dongseong High School, the two were the center of attention among baseball fans. Their hometown team, KIA, was in a state of blissful indecision about which of the two to select in the 2022 first round.
After much deliberation, Kia selected Kim Do-young with the first pick. Between Moon Dong-joo, an “ultra-elite pitcher” with a fastball in the mid-150km range, and Kim Do-young, a genius shortstop who was described as the “second Lee Jong-beom,” the Tigers decided that the infield needed to be strengthened first.
Moon Dong-joo and Kim Do-young are in their second year of professional baseball. In his first full-time starting rotation, Moon went 8-8 with a 3.62 ERA in 22 games, showing the potential to be a top-tier starter. Kim Do-young has become an integral part of the KIA lineup, batting .300 (180-for-54) with two home runs, 21 RBI, 12 doubles and a .796 OPS in 44 games despite suffering an injury shortly after the start of the season.
“Even if Moon Dong-ju tried not to be conscious when he started last Sunday (27), Kim Do-young would have been conscious,” Choi Won-ho said immediately after the rainout against the Lotte Giants in Daejeon on the 30th. “At the end of the sixth inning, he started at a disadvantage because he couldn’t catch the count with a fastball changeup to Kim Do-young, and in a full count, the ball was driven into the middle of the plate while he was worried about a walk.”메이저놀이터
“It was a case where Moon Dong-ju collapsed at the end of the sixth inning as Kim Do-young hit a single, but Moon Dong-ju improved a lot,” he said. “It’s true that the starting rotation was adjusted due to rain cancellation, which is not good for controlling physical condition. However, when the game is pushed back due to rain, we cannot adjust the starting rotation only to Moon Dong-joo.”
Meanwhile, Moon will close the 2023 regular season with a start against the LG Twins on September 3. The club’s policy is to keep his innings under 120 this year, so he’ll be off before his teammates.
However, Moon won’t be taking it easy. He will be competing at the Asian Games in Hangzhou in September. He will be training and pitching in practice games in Seosan, where Hanwha’s secondary training center is located, before being called up to the Asian Games team.