‘Defending champion’ SSG Landers is mired in 4 consecutive losses at home. With a hard-fought 1-point lead, the bullpen collapsed, and a red light was turned on not only for the team to jump to 2nd place, but also for 3rd place Mercury.스포츠토토
SSG lost 6-8 in the 13th game of the season against the KIA Tigers of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League held at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on the 3rd. They dedicated all of their 3 consecutive wins over the weekend to KIA and bowed their heads with 4 straight losses.
SSG’s starting pitcher Oh Won-seok struggled on this day, allowing 7 hits, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts, and 5 runs in 6 innings, but thanks to the explosion of the batting lineup, they fought a fierce battle with KIA. Choo Shin-soo’s solo home run in the bottom of the first inning when the team was down 0-2, and Cho Hyeong-woo’s three-run home run in the bottom of the second inning when the team was trailing 1-4 continued the even trend.
In the bottom of the 5th inning, leading hitter Choi Jeong came forward to solve the problem. While trailing 4-5, Choi Jeong hit a 2-run home run to bring the score back to 6-5. As expected, he appeared to be breaking the losing streak as he ranked first in home runs for the league team.
However, they were unable to overcome KIA’s firepower in defense in the top of the 8th inning. Ko Hyo-jun, who had been on the mound with one out in the top of the 7th inning, disposed of leadoff hitter Socrates with a fly ball to left field in the top of the 8th inning and then hit Kim Seon-bin with 1 out and runner on first base.
The SSG bench made a game-winning move here by bringing in closer Seo Jin-yong early. Because Noh Kyung had used his cards early in the top of the 7th inning, there was no pitcher in the bullpen whom he could trust to handle tight situations late in the game.
However, Seo Jin-yong could not break KIA’s momentum. A hit to Dae-in Hwang made the situation worse with one out and runners on first and second base, and immediately allowed Tae-gun Kim to hit an RBI and timely hit, tying the score at 6-6 and SSG’s lead disappeared.
Seo Jin-yong bowed his head once again in the ongoing crisis of allowing additional runs with one out, first and second bases. Go Jong-wook, who came on as a pinch hitter, hit a timely hit with an RBI, turning the score to 6-7. Afterwards, the inning ended with a difficult effort by catching Park Chan-ho with a double play between the second baseman, shortstop, and first baseman, but the flow of the game had already shifted to KIA.
SSG started defense in the top of the 9th inning with the score at 6-7 and replaced the pitcher with Lee Ro-woon. Lee Ro-woon prevented additional runs and attempted a counterattack in the final attack of the regular inning in the bottom of the 9th inning.
However, Lee Ro-woon also failed to meet the expectations of the SSG bench. Lee Ro-woon hit a solo home run off KIA leadoff hitter Kim Do-young in the top of the 9th inning, widening the score gap to 6-8. SSG’s last attack in the bottom of the 9th inning ended without a score, extending their losing streak to ‘4’.
SSG’s team ERA in the second half of the season was 6.55, ranking last among the 10 teams. There is a large difference from the league average of 4.69. Compared to the first half of the season, when the team ranked second in the league with an ERA of 3.31, it feels like a completely different team.
The biggest problem is the slump of Ko Hyo-jun, who supported Pil Seung-jo. Ko Hyo-jun, born in 1983, played the role of handing over the 9th inning to Seo Jin-yong in a lead situation with 3 wins, 1 loss, 8 holds, and an ERA of 2.51 in 39 games in the first half of this season.
However, after the All-Star break, SSG’s back door was also in trouble as Ko Hyo-jun was in trouble with 1 win, 3 holds, and an ERA of 7.04 in 20 games. Noh Kyung-eun, born in 1984, is struggling in the second half of the year with 2 wins, 4 holds, and an ERA of 3.32 in 19 games, but with the absence of young pitchers with notable growth, sustainable baseball is not being achieved. They are feeling the absence of left-hander Kim Taek-hyung, who played a critical role in last year’s KBO’s first ever ‘wire to wire’ combined championship.
SSG coach Kim Won-hyung’s concerns are also growing. Before the KIA game on the 3rd, he sighed, saying, “The bullpen pitchers need to work up their strength. The pitching department, which I consider most important, continues to show bad performances. Situations that occur in the second half of the game keep occurring.”
He also said, “Noh Kyung-eun and Ko Hyo-jun are tired. Both pitchers are older, but they play a large part in the team.” He added, “Currently, Choi Min-jun has also fallen to the second team due to his poor pitching status. There is something Choi Min-jun needs to do, but he is not in the right condition at the moment. Ten days.” “I think I need to check the condition afterward,” he explained.