‘Memories of a sweep’ Lotte to play NC in return match…target remains firm at 3rd place

After slipping to third place, the Lotte Giants look to bounce back in the second “Nakdong River Derby” of the season against the NC Dinos. The Giants need to close the gap on first-place SSG Landers and LG Twins, but their primary goal is to overtake fourth-place NC and keep a firm grip on third place.

Lotte will host NC for a three-game series in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League from March 23-25 at Sajik Stadium in Busan.

After being swept by SSG in a three-game series last weekend, Lotte dropped two spots from first to third. The distance between SSG and LG at the top of the leaderboard has also increased by two games.

With co-leaders SSG and LG facing off against each other in Incheon, Lotte can’t take over the top spot even if they sweep the three-game series against the NC. Depending on the outcome of their matches, they could move up one spot to second place, but for now, it’s time to look down rather than up.

After sitting in the top three for nearly a month since April 26, Lotte is 3.5 games behind the fourth-place NC and Doosan Bears. They have plenty of time to spare, but a sweep in the three-game series against NC could put the third spot in jeopardy.

Lotte swept NC in their first meeting of the season on April 21-23. In all three games, the team came from behind to pull off a thrilling comeback. Lotte rode that momentum to a nine-game winning streak that propelled them to the top of the standings.안전놀이터

However, the path to victory was anything but smooth. Lotte’s bats struggled to find their groove on the NC mound. There were times when the offense didn’t work out and the game became frustrating in the middle innings.

Lotte’s offense hasn’t been explosive lately either. Their .242 batting average in May ranks eighth out of 10 teams. Only Kim Min-seok (0.333) and Noh Jin-hyuk (0.310) have posted monthly batting averages above .300. The offense has also been frustrating in recent games on the 20th and 21st, going scoreless for 14 consecutive innings and leaving 11 stranded.

NC, on the other hand, has had its ups and downs, but when it’s on fire, it’s been fearsome, scoring double-digit runs twice in May. They lead the league with a team batting average of 0.289 in May and have seven triple-digit hitters, including Kwon Hee-dong (0.351), Son Ah-seop (0.345), Park Gun-woo (0.333), Park Se-hyuk (0.316), Park Min-woo (0.314), Do Tae-hoon (0.308), and Jason Martin (0.300).

Lotte will have to rely on the strength of its mound. They will rely heavily on Na Kyun-an, Han Hyun-hee, and Park Se-woong, who will start in order. The three pitchers have been strong in their recent outings. Their combined ERA last week was 0.98 (2 runs in 18⅓ innings).


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