Last year’s Korean Series runners-up, Kiwoom, struggled in the leaderboards at the start of this season. It could have been argued that some positions in the team’s objective strength were actually better than last year, but the results showed otherwise.카지노사이트
After struggling to break out of the top 5 at the start of the season, Kiwoom struggled after mid-May as his pitching and hitting balance fell apart, eventually dropping to 23-34-1 (.404) on June 9 with a win-loss margin of -11, his lowest winning percentage of the season. It was bad enough that we had to worry about falling to the bottom of the table.
However, even at that time, there were quite a few people who were optimistic that Kiwoom would slowly rebound, especially those on the field and commentators. A common reason was the starting lineup. If the starters don’t collapse, there’s always a chance. If the starters hold up, the losing streaks will be shorter, and if the team’s bats are in sync, the winning streaks will be longer. It’s still early in the season, so the ups and downs can be steep.
In fact, early in the season, Kiwoom’s starting lineup was functioning well regardless of the team’s performance. While foreign ace Eric Yokishi was sidelined with an injury and only managed a 4.39 ERA in 12 games, the rest of the team held their own relatively well. As of June 9, when Kiwoom had to worry about last place in the standings, their starters had a 3.36 ERA, which was second in the league and well above the league average (3.92).
The team also led the league in quality starts (six or more innings of three earned runs or less) with 36. The team’s ace, Ahn Woo-jin, was posting a 1.87 ERA, and the three-punch was steady with new foreign pitcher Ariel Hurtado and Choi Won-tae, who had a marked rebound this year. Add to that the timely arrival of Chung Chan-heon, and you have a steady rotation.
The starters continued to hold up well, and as soon as the cycle of batters led by Lee Jung-hoo picked up, Kiwoom rode a steep winning streak to move up the standings. Since June 10, Kiwoom has gone 10-3-1, and at the center of it all is a starting rotation that has posted a 1.75 ERA in 14 games over that span. In those 14 games, there were nine quality starts and six quality-plus starts (seven or more innings and three or fewer earned runs). With a starting lineup like this, it’s hard to lose if you score enough runs.
Of course, Kiwoom has yet to regain its 5 percent winning percentage and is ranked sixth. I’m not saying that Kiwoom is the best team this season or will be the best team. However, they are a symbol that if the starting rotation can hold up in any situation, even if the other positions are weak, there will always be a chance. This also has implications for LG, Lotte, KIA, and ‘Elotge’, who are all dreaming of making the postseason together this season.
Their objective power is no worse than Kiwoom’s, and their depth is even better. In fact, LG and Lotte are currently ranked ahead of Kiwoom. However, all three teams have one thing in common: their starting lineup. If their starting lineup falls apart, their season prospects are bound to dim.
LG, which is in a tight race with SSG for the top spot, hasn’t been able to solve its starting lineup woes. The goal was to establish a homegrown 3-5 starters heading into the season, but so far it hasn’t worked. The starting ERA (3.67) isn’t bad, but there are too many players coming and going. Except for Lim Chan-kyu, the rest of the domestic starters are undecided. There’s a reason why LG manager Yoon Kyung-yeop sees the starting lineup as a problem that must be solved for the second half of the season. He knows all too well that this is not the way to go.
Lotte’s early season struggles eventually led to a bullpen overload, which is a big part of the team’s poor performance since June. It’s clear to see that the bullpen is tired. With the two foreign pitchers still in the mix, the rest of the starters outside of Park Se-woong are all highly variable. Na Kyun-ahn is out with an injury, Han Hyun-hee has struggled since moving to the bullpen, and Lee In-bok has only just returned. There is no momentum in front of a crumbling starting lineup.
The same is true for KIA. The team seemed to have a stable rotation of five starters this season, but cracks appeared in May. Foreign pitcher Adonis Medina is effectively on his way out after struggling, and Shawn Anderson has lost much of his April momentum. Lee Yi-ri is showing signs of lacking innings, and Yoon Young-cheol clearly has steps to take as a high school rookie. Yang Hyun-jong has also been a bit of a question mark with his lackluster performance. The immediate concern is finding a replacement for Medina. For the three teams to survive, they will eventually have to solve the problem of stabilizing their starting lineup. The sooner they do, the better.