KIA coach Kim Jong-guk singled out foreign player Sean Anderson as the starter for the opening game, and at the same time pointed to Lee Eui-ri (21) as the next player to start. When asked why Lee Eui-ri was the second starter among many players, coach Kim explained that it had already been an internal offer since the camp.
Coach Kim asserted, “Lee Eui-ri must do better to make our team stronger.” Last year, Lee Eui-ri was in the position of ‘fourth starter’ following two foreign players and native ace Yang Hyeon-jong. However, coach Kim’s theory was that in order for KIA to go to a higher place, Eui-ri Lee should grow to the point where he can be a second starter, that is, a native ace.
Although KIA achieved the desired result of returning to the postseason last year, it was not a 100% satisfactory season in terms of performance. KIA recorded 70 wins, 73 losses and 1 tie (.490) last year, and sold below 50%. Ahead of this season, there was no groundbreaking power reinforcement like before the 2022 season. So, in order to achieve better results than last year with this member, it was necessary for the existing players to develop. Eui-ri Lee was that iconic player in the starting rotation.
However, it has not yet lived up to director Kim’s expectations. Eui-ri Lee is recording an average ERA of 2.87 in 7 games this season. Looking at the average ERA alone, it seems like a second starter and a native ace. But when you look at his WHIP of 1.79, the story changes again. Frequent 4 balls have emerged as a problem, and as a result, a vicious cycle in which inning digestion is reduced continues. He’s a player who shouldn’t be content with starting 4 any longer.
There has never been a quality start (less than 3 earned runs in 6 or more starting innings) in 7 games this year, and there are 4 games where 5 innings were not digested. Naturally, this leads to an increase in the consumption of bullpen pitchers. Lee Eui-ri, whom he believed in, has yet to make a full-fledged start, and one of KIA’s plans for the season is going wrong.
In other areas, there are a few areas where the season started off worse than expected. So is Po Soo-jin. Prior to this season, Park Dong-won, who qualified as a free agent (FA), signed a contract with LG and left the team. He had to fill that void. In a situation where it is not easy to trade a key catcher, great expectations were placed on the growth of Joo Hyo-sang (26), which was obtained through the trade with Kiwoom along with Han Seung-taek. The original idea was that the catchers would hold out in the competition between the two players and lay the foundation for a long-term generational change.
▲ Hwang Dae-in’s performance is absolutely necessary for KIA to escape from the attack power crisis ⓒKIA Tigers
However, Joo Hyo-sang’s performance was shaken from the start of the season with a poor sense of hitting. Joo Hyo-sang stayed with a batting average of 0.063 in 19 games of the season. His OPS, the sum of his on-base percentage and slugging percentage, was 0.181, which was less than that of other players. Eventually, on the 14th, he went down to the second group ahead of the match against Doosan in Jamsil. KIA’s season plan is in danger of collapsing in less than two months from the start. The catcher’s future has also reached a point where it has to be considered from the beginning.메이저사이트
The problem of first base, which was considered to have the most room for an increase in offense in the infield position, is not being resolved as planned. The original first baseman, Hwang Dae-in, performed better, and the newly recruited Byeon Woo-hyeok moved back and forth between 1st and 3rd base to support the back, but this also did not work out as intended. Since key players Na Seong-beom and Kim Do-young were injured, we have to find a clue here, but it feels more twisted.
Hwang Dae-in has a batting average of 0.211, 2 home runs, 13 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.581 in 27 games of the season, rather showing poor offensive productivity compared to last year. Byun Woo-hyeok also doesn’t produce results apart from his flashing long hitting power and pretty good patience. With a batting average of 0.169, 3 home runs, 11 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.568 in 23 games, there is still a distance from the word explosion.
The bullpen is showing improvement, but in the end, KIA, which did not connect well with the three most important points before the season, fell further than last year. As of the 15th, it is 7th in the league with 14 wins and 17 losses (.452). I tried to overcome the hurdles well in early April, but in mid-May, my performance slumped and I lost five consecutive losses. The fact that the roller coaster leading downhill, uphill and downhill is quite steep suggests that KIA is having difficulty maintaining its performance. When the season comes to a close, can you say that you successfully solved these three tasks? If not, there is no choice but to be concerned about struggling on the leaderboard this year.