Walcerson-Barnes-Park share QS duties, Lee In-bok returns from injury for third time in seven games
- Na Gyun-an’s replacement, Han Hyun-hee, struggled
- Fans’ resentment grew as the team collapsed.
With injuries, the hole in the starting five became more pronounced. The team’s returning pitchers, as well as free agents, are not enough to plug the hole, but there are alternatives. The Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) are suffering from a lack of top five starters.
Lotte suffered a 6-9 upset loss against Sajik SSG on the 5th. The loss clinched the weekend’s three-game series and dropped them to a three-game losing streak. It also worsened their win-loss (42-49) margin to -7. Their chances of advancing to the fall baseball season were further diminished as the gap with 6th-place KIA was extended to four games.
There were a number of factors that contributed to the loss, including four walks, a stolen base, and a catcher’s error. But the biggest loss was the performance of starting pitcher Han Hyun-hee. Han was pulled after less than five innings after giving up three runs on seven hits in four innings. The inability of the starters to go the distance led to six bullpen appearances, including a multi-inning outing by closer Kim Won-joong, who gave up three runs.
From a long-term perspective, Lotte’s biggest concern is its starting five. Lotte has been using the following rotation for the second half of the season: Aaron Wilkerson, Charlie Barnes, Park Se-woong, Na Kyun-an, and In-bok (Han Hyun-hee). The third starter, Park Se-woong, is fine. Wilkerson, who replaced Dan Streeley, picked up a win in his KBO debut and a Quality Start (QS) in his second start. Barnes, who had been pitching “fondly,” settled down in July and picked up a win and a QS in his first start of August. Park Se-woong also earned a QS+ (7 innings, 3 runs or less) in his latest outing.
However, fifth-stringers Lee In-bok and Han Hyun-hee have been out of form. Lee rejoined the starting rotation in late June after rehabbing from surgery earlier this year. Since his return, he hasn’t fared well, going 3-3 with a 5.63 ERA in seven games (one win). He doesn’t have a single QS. Against SSG on April 4, he was pulled early after giving up four runs on seven hits in three innings. This is largely due to the fact that his strengths as a classic ground ball inducer with a fastball and slider are gone. His on-base percentage (.500) and slugging percentage (.410) are the highest among the team’s starters. His walks per inning allowed (WHIP) of 1.87 is also the worst of any starter. As a result of his situation, he was finally removed from the first team roster on May 5. Kim Do-gyu was called up to take his place.
Han Hyun-hee, who temporarily joined the rotation due to Na Gyun-an’s sudden hamstring injury, is also not doing well. In his first start as a substitute, on March 30 against the Gwangju Kia, he was relatively uneventful with four innings and one run. However, he collapsed on the last five days, causing disappointment.
Signed by Lotte for a total of 4 billion won (300 million won in signing bonus, 1.5 billion won in guaranteed salary, and 2.2 billion won in options) this season, he was initially expected to play the role of a ‘spanner’ between the starting rotation and the bullpen. However, his ERA has been disastrous in both starting (5.03) and relief (7.62) roles.메이저사이트
Lotte, which at one point this season was ranked first in the league, has been losing games that it should have won due to the recent heat wave. Fans are growing increasingly frustrated with the team, but the team hasn’t had much of a chance to rebound. If they can’t fill the five-man roster right away, fall baseball will be a long shot this year.