It’s a summer nightmare. Defending champions SSG Landers are having a dismal August. Their long-held second place in the standings is in jeopardy due to a lack of fundamentals.
SSG lost 4-15 against the Lotte Giants in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League away game at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan on Sunday. With the loss, SSG dropped all three games of a midweek series against Lotte. It’s been five years and two months since SSG lost a three-game series against Lotte since June 15-17, 2018, when they were the former SK Wyverns.
Prior to this series, SSG held a 7-3 record against Lotte, giving them the upper hand in the “retail rivalry” matchup. In their most recent meeting, a three-game series away from home on August 4-6, SSG won the series 2-1, although they did allow a team no-hitter on the final day.
However, the three-game series against the returning Lotte was a nightmare for SSG. From the first game (Game 15), SSG was unable to get anyone on base in the first inning as starter Roenis Elias left the mound after four innings. They rallied late in the game, but a four-run seventh inning proved to be the difference and they lost 6-10.
The next day, they dropped another game, 4-7. On this day, starter Park Jong-hoon struggled with his pitches, giving up a whopping nine fours in five innings. The offense was unable to capitalize on their opponents’ errors. After giving up a three-run homer to Jeon Jun-woo in the fifth inning, they gave up three runs in the sixth and seventh innings.
In response, SSG removed Park Jong-hoon from the first-team roster before the 17th game. He also gave up seven runs on four hits against Lotte on the 4th, bringing his total to 16 runs in the two games combined. SSG manager Kim Won-hyung said, “I will try to pitch without giving up any walks,” but he was bitter, saying, “(Park) Jong-hoon sometimes has a lot of situations where he’s just watching, so (the batters) lose concentration.”
“Before coming here (to Busan), the pitchers were pitching well and the bats were slumping,” Kim said of the team as a whole. “Even if the power is not perfect overall, if we score fewer runs, the pitchers should be able to stop them and win the game,” he said, adding, “I understand why we can’t win, but I told the players that it’s not the only reason, so let’s create an atmosphere of preparation.”
On this day, however, SSG did not play well. In fact, it was the worst result of the three games. Starter Oh Won-seok was pulled early after giving up five runs on seven hits and four walks in 3⅓ innings, and the offense managed just two runs in the seventh inning against Lotte Mound, who was on bullpen day. Trailing 6-2 in the top of the eighth, 토토사이트 they rallied with two runs on a Kang Jin-sung RBI single and a Choi Jeong sacrifice fly.
However, the defense in the bottom of the eighth was a nightmare for SSG. After walking leadoff hitter Ahn Kwon-soo, the team gave up a two-run triple to Park Seung-wook with runners on first and third to erase the lead from the previous inning. Ahn Kwon-soo then came back to bat, but he left eight consecutive batters on base before he could get another hit. Sixth.