They say baseball is a starting pitcher’s duel, but you can’t win if you’re not scoring runs. The Kiwoom Heroes, the team with the most runs scored this year, piled up another bunch of runs and continued their ignominious record of being “undefeated in eight games” against the SSG Landers.
Kiwoom lost 1-2 to SSG Landers in an away game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League regular season on March 3 at SSG Landers Field in Michuhol-gu, Incheon. With the loss, Kiwoom dropped its third straight game and remained in eighth place in the league with 21 wins and 32 losses.
The performance was not much different from the previous day, when the team led until the eighth inning and gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth to lose 2-3. The day before, Kiwoom got a quality start from starter Choi Won-tae, who pitched 6⅔ innings, including a 5⅓-inning perfect game, giving up two hits (one home run) and one walk while striking out six. However, he gave up a tying run in the seventh inning to Choi Jeong and the game-winning hit to Kim Sung-hyun in the ninth.
It was more of the same today. Chung had the best performance of the day, pitching six innings of no-hit ball, striking out six and walking none. It was a flawless performance that could have been called perfect if it weren’t for a foil and a throwing error by the second baseman.
But even with the no-hitter, Kiwoom couldn’t relax. Opposing starter Oh Won-seok was pitching just as well as Chung Chan-heon (6 innings, 1 run). A close pitching battle with a small margin of victory can put a team under pressure, even if they’re in the lead. Moreover, Kiwoom couldn’t help but remember the previous day’s upset loss and the fact that they’ve been absolutely outclassed this season. Before the game, Kiwoom coach Hong Won-ki commented on the previous day’s loss, saying, “Our extra goal came too late. If we had scored earlier, it would have played a big role in our victory, but because of the late extra point, we were still winning, but I think we felt like we were being chased.”
Through two days, Kiwoom had the most wickets in the league (428) but fewer goals (203 – fifth in the league). Unlike last year, when center fielders like Lee Jung-hoo and Yasiel Puig drew walks at a high rate in scoring opportunities, there was no solution in sight this year.
As a result, the starters’ run support was 3.82, the worst in the league. But even that was not to be counted on. On this day, Kiwoom failed to capitalize on four chances: two outs in the third, no outs in the fourth, two outs in the seventh, and two outs in the ninth. The starters’ run support was even lower, at 3.77, and eventually gave up a tying solo home run to Jeon Eui-san in the eighth inning and a game-tying hit to Kim Min-sik in the 10th to repeat the previous day’s nightmare.
Kiwoom starters have made the most quality starts (33) in the league this season. That’s a far cry from the second-place Doosan Bears and Samsung Lions, who each have 22. It’s a commanding lead. The lack of run support has resulted in a start-winning percentage of just 39.6% (8th in the league).
However, Kiwoom’s starting pitchers are more grateful than frustrated with their hitters and talk about the One-Team. Ariel Furado, who took the loss despite giving up two runs in seven innings against Gocheok Lotte on March 27, said, “The hitters feel sorry for me (because of the lack of run support). But baseball is a team sport. I was just grateful that I didn’t make any mistakes.”토토사이트
Choi Won-tae, who did not get the win despite pitching 6⅔ innings of one-run ball, including 5⅓ perfect innings, against SSG in Incheon on Feb. 2, also said, “Winning is not something I can do. Rather, I’m more grateful that my teammates played really good defense. When the team is struggling like now, it’s more important for us to win than my individual performance. The more we win, the more the fans cheer for us, and the more they come. Right now, I’m just trying to throw as hard as I can to help the team win.”