Lotte, this year is not a ‘spring place’… let’s go to a ‘place to go’
Lotte won a pleasant 5-3 come-from-behind victory in a home game against Kiwoom Heroes held at Sajik Stadium in Busan on the 30th of last month. After the match against Hanwha on June 12, 2010, when he was coach Jerry Royster, he recorded 8 consecutive wins in 4,705 days, rising to the sole 1st place (14 wins, 8 losses, 0.636 win rate). It has been 3,949 days since July 7, 2012 that Lotte took the lead after playing more than 10 games in the season.
On the 30th, when Lotte challenged for an eight-game winning streak in 13 years, Sajik Stadium showed off its enthusiasm by recording the first full crowd (22,990) of the season.
The giant’s hindsight is amazing. During the recent 8 consecutive wins, only 5 come-from-behind wins were achieved, and all 3 games that were dragged up to the 5th were overturned. The April team batting average (0.262) is 3rd, but the scoring position batting average (0.304, 2nd) is better. Bullpen ERA (4.35) is 7th. Recently, Kim Jin-wook (left-hander) and Choi Jun-yong (right-hander) joined Pilseung-joo to strengthen the bullpen, and Na Kyun-ahn is making up for the sluggish starter (5.03 ERA). Team errors are at least second with 13.
In April of last year, Lotte was also on the rise with 14 wins, 9 losses and 1 draw (2nd place). However, since May, players have left one after another due to a rope injury and confirmation of Corona 19. In the end, the season ended in 8th place (win rate 0.457). It was a perfect fit for the unwelcome nickname of ‘Bomde (Lotte, which is only strong in spring)’.
This year, Lotte is in the spirit of ‘Let’s go as far as we can go’. I want to show the image of ‘Lotte that is strong until the fall’.
From the composition of the team to the operation of the bench, it is different from a year ago. It shows a strong will to advance to baseball in the fall for the first time in six years.
The Lotte team, which received a paid-in capital increase of 19 billion won from the parent group in October last year, showed an active move. It was a signal that Park Se-woong, who was pushing for enlistment in the Sangmu baseball team, was caught with a multi-year contract for a total of 9 billion won over 5 years. Following this, the recruitment of free agents (FA) such as Yoo Kang-nam (up to 8 billion won in 4 years), Noh Jin-hyeok (up to 5 billion won), and Han Hyun-hee (up to 4 billion won in 3 + 1 years) has also been successful.
Catcher Yoo Kang-nam is showing a seasoned lead by quickly getting on the mound and cutting the timing when the pitcher falters. Shortstop Noh Jin-hyeok held the center of the infield firmly. Not only the free agents who paid a huge amount of money, but also Kim Sang-soo (2 wins, 4 holds) and Yoon Myeong-jun (3 holds), who are released, are also very active. In the other lineup, Ahn Kwon-soo, a 3rd-generation Korean from Doosan, plays a lead-off role and is flying with a batting average of 0.318.
Lotte coach Larry Sutton’s game management has also become bold and cool. If foreign pitchers Dan Strayley and Charlie Barnes are sluggish, they will be mercilessly replaced even before the 5th inning. Han Hyun-hee also played a scoreless fight until the 4th inning against Kiwoom on the 30th of last month, and got off the mound immediately after allowing a tie in the 5th inning. Head coach Sutton, who is in the final season of his contract, is running the bullpen early and winning the game. In the match against the Hanwha Eagles on the 26th of last month, Strayley, who gave up 1 run in 3 innings (50 pitches), was dropped early, and it was a decision with the start on the 30th in mind. 안전놀이터
However, Lotte’s winning streak was not perfect in terms of content. During this period, there were not many opponents who faced strong selections. Even so, he only had a batting average of 0.233 against starting pitchers. He made a save against Kiwoom An Woo-jin (5 innings, 2 runs). Only when Strayley (2 losses, 5.82 ERA) and Barnes (1 win, 1 loss, 7.58 ERA) survive, they will not be pushed back in the starting fight.
2nd place SSG Landers is chasing Lotte without a ride. They are 1-2 games behind 3rd place LG Twins and 4th place NC Dinos. For Lotte’s leading defense, this week’s six-game series against the KIA Tigers and Samsung Lions, who are winning five consecutive victories side by side, is important.