It’s been a nightmare three-game series. A sweep that seemed to expose all of our current flaws. For the second year in a row, the regular season championship is this far away.메이저놀이터
The SSG Landers were swept in a three-game series against the Lotte Giants at Sajik Stadium in Busan midweek. It was a total disaster, especially on the final day of the series, when the team committed five fielding errors and self-destructed with nine runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. With everything falling apart, SSG lost 4-15. They were still in the game at 4-6 and 2-2 late in the game, but the nine runs in the bottom of the eighth were shocking. It was the first time SSG had dropped a three-game series to Lotte in over five years and two months since June 2018, when they were the former SK Wyverns.
SSG’s record since the All-Star break is 9-12. They are seventh out of 10 teams in the standings. On the other hand, their rivals, the first-place LG Twins, have a more comfortable seven-game lead and are being closely followed by the KT Wiz, who have climbed from the bottom to third place. On Sunday, SSG and KT were evenly matched, with both teams now having all their points wiped out. SSG, who have played three games less than KT, are in second place, narrowly edging them out in terms of winning percentage. KT has an incredible 19-4 record in the second half of the season, including a recent five-game winning streak. Based on their second half performance alone, KT is the clear favorite.
SSG’s goal this season was to win the title for the second year in a row. There are still 43 games to go, and postseason results are far from certain. However, the way things are going, the chances of them winning the regular season title for at least the second year in a row are looking pretty slim. In order for SSG to pull off the upset, LG or KT would have to falter first, as both teams have been steadily improving their winning percentage while SSG has failed to do so.
The problem isn’t just one or two players. The starting lineup is shaky, the bullpen has collapsed, and the defense is making mistakes. With the exception of Kim Kwang-hyun, who has been in the best form of late, Oh Won-seok is struggling and the foreign pitchers have not been able to provide a clear “ace”. There’s also the added variable of having to make two substitute starts for Cha Ju right now, as Park Jong-hoon was sent back to the second team after a poor outing. The bullpen, anchored by veterans Noh Kyung-eun and Ko Hyo-joon, has also lost its edge recently.
The batting lineup is always going to have its ups and downs, but if SSG’s recent performances are anything to go by, they don’t have a clutch hitter. Core hitter Choi, who finished the first half of the year on an MVP-caliber pace, has cooled off to a 2-for-22 mark with one home run in August, and the loss of Guillermo Heredia to injury has left the center field lineup a bit thin. The top and bottom of the batting order have also been up and down.
Manager Kim Won-hyung and his coaching staff are trying to keep the team’s mood as positive as possible while looking for a breakthrough. SSG hasn’t made many changes to its starting lineup, but in recent games, it has made some unconventional choices based on the situation. It’s a sign that they’re trying to overcome.
SSG will start a three-game series against LG on the 18th, followed by NC, Doosan, and Kiwoom. The good news is that nine of the 12 games will be played at home in Incheon. Now that they’re in the second half of the race, they can’t afford to slack off anymore, especially after shaking off the shock of the Sajik away sweep as soon as possible. Only then can they keep their last hope alive.