LOTTE loses 5-13 to KIA on Dec. 12…Jung Sung-jong gives up 6 runs in less than 2 innings
- Bullpen Shim Jae-min and Kim Do-gyu gave up consecutive runs.
- Choi Young-hwan gives up 4 runs and tries to catch up
- Gap between the best-of-seven group… need to split the game
The gap between the Lotte Giants and the chasing pack in the Korean Baseball Organization was evident. With the exception of the KCK (Koo Seung-min, Choi Jun-yong, Kim Won-joong) lineup, there is no one who can reliably close the back door. It is pointed out that Lotte needs to build a chasing group that is as solid as the winning group in order to advance to the fall baseball season.
Lotte lost 5-13 against Sajik KIA on April 12. The previous day, Lotte had won thanks to a strong pitching performance from “Sajik Jesus” Aaron Wilkerson and an explosive batting lineup, but on this day, the team looked weak from the start. Most painful was the collapse of Jeong Seong-jong, who started in the absence of Na Kyun-an and Lee In-bok, giving up six runs in one and a third innings. It was also bad news that the chasing group that was mobilized after the early departure of the starting pitcher collapsed. The chasing group of Shim Jae-min, Kim Do-kyu, and Choi Young-hwan looked shaky, giving up seven runs on multiple occasions.
The first reliever, Shim Jae-min, was the only one to make it through three and a third innings, giving up two runs (one earned). Trailing 0-5 in the top of the second inning with runners on first and second, he walked the first batter he faced to load the bases before giving up a single to Choi Hyung-woo. Kim Do-kyu, who came on after Shim Jae-min, gave up a run with only one out. Trailing 1-7 with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, he gave up a single to Park Chan-ho and a walk to Kim Do-young in the next at-bat. After eight pitches, he gave up a walk to Na Sung-beom to load the bases. Luckily, Choi struck out Choi Hyung-woo to prevent further damage. However, in the sixth inning, he gave up back-to-back hits to put runners in scoring position.
Worst of all was the third bullpen pitcher, Choi Young-hwan. He gave up four runs in two and one-third innings, and the fact that Lotte scored four runs in the previous inning only made his struggles more pronounced. Trailing 5-8 in the sixth inning with runners on first and second, Choi saw the first batter’s bunt float in front of him, but he couldn’t handle it properly and threw the ball to third, leaving only the lead runner out. He then gave up an RBI double to Lee Woo-sung. In the eighth inning, he allowed a double, a walk and a single to load the bases before giving up a walk, a sacrifice fly and an RBI single.
While Lotte has succeeded in building a solid KCK lineup, they have yet to produce a reliable “long relief” option. Last year, Kim Do-kyu (4 wins, 8 holds, 3.71 ERA) filled that role, but this year he hasn’t been able to regain his form after surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow. Lee Min-seok, Han Hyun-hee, and Kim Sang-soo were among the favorites for long relief before the season began, but all of them have been unavailable.메이저사이트
Lee “Fireballer” Min-seok, the first pick in the 2022 draft, has been ruled out for the season due to injury. Free agent Han Hyun-hee has recently rejoined the starting rotation as a fifth starter, so he can’t be expected to take on a bullpen role. Kim Sang-soo, who joined Lotte this year, has been performing at a high level as a free agent, but has recently been injured and unable to take the mound.
Lotte’s batting cycle has been showing signs of rebounding lately, so if they can build a solid chase group in addition to a must-win group, they should be able to make it to fall baseball.