Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan, where the cheering song ‘Busan Seagull’ returns after 5 years. The crowd, where 22,990 baseball fans sold out, turned into a crucible of enthusiasm the moment Jack Rex, a foreign hitter, made a timely come-from-behind hit. Fans hugged each other and couldn’t hide their joy. He seemed excited as if he had won the Korean Series.
Lotte won a 5-3 come-from-behind victory against the Kiwoom Heroes held at Sajik Stadium on the 30th. With this victory, Lotte, who won 8 consecutive wins in 13 years, recorded a win rate of 14 wins and 8 losses at .636. On the same day, SSG Landers (15-9, win rate .625), who lost to Doosan Bears, was pushed to second place without a ride and occupied the top of the leaderboard. It is the first time in 4,706 days that Lotte has won 8 consecutive victories since the match against Sajik LG on June 3, 2010 and the match against Hanwha on June 11. It has been 3949 days since July 7, 2012 that it has risen to the top of the league based on 10 or more games.
Ahead of the season opening, few experts picked Lotte as the favorite to win. It was not even mentioned as a candidate for the round of 5. Most of them rated Lotte Electric Power as a lower rank, and
there was a reason. Lotte has experienced fall baseball only once in the last 10 years, in 2017. Even so, they were eliminated early in the semi-playoffs (jun PO) by losing to the ‘Nakdong River rival’ NC Dinos.
Results over the past five years have been disastrous. It was ‘7-10-7-8-8’. I couldn’t even properly compete in fall baseball. I’ve never been above 50% win rate. This season is different. It ended the first month of April at number one. It was a result no one expected. Even Lotte players and fans were like that.
There is a name that cannot be left out of the Lotte storm. It is ‘Na Gyun-an’. Na Kyun-an started 5 games in April alone and recorded 4 wins, no losses, and an ERA of 1.34. He overtook foreign pitcher and native ace Park Se-woong and confidently established himself as the team’s number one starter.
Na Kyun-an, who originally joined as a catcher and played in 216 first-team games, turned to pitcher late in 2021. Everyone expected to fail. This was a mistake. ‘Pitcher’ Na Kyun-an was a great success. He appeared in 23 games in his first year as a pitcher and showed potential. Last year, he appeared in 39 games and was responsible for 117⅔ innings. Although he is still in the early stages of this season, he has developed into the best pitcher representing the KBO.
Na Kyun-an’s fast ball velocity is only in the early 140km range. Instead, stable control is excellent. He threw 33⅔ innings, striking out 29 while allowing his walks just eight. He confuses batters with sharp sliders and forkballs. His pitching content is so overwhelming that his on-base allowed per inning (WHIP) is only 0.89. Thanks to Na Gyun-ahn’s clear control of the mound, Lotte eased their worries about consecutive losses. The players gained the confidence that ‘if Na Kyun-an comes out, he will definitely win’.
Active power reinforcement is also the driving force behind Lotte’s early rise. Lotte boldly unpacked the money bag after last season. In the free agent market, they recruited catcher Yoo Kang-nam (4 years, 8 billion won), shortstop Noh Jin-hyeok (4 years, 5 billion won), and pitcher Han Hyun-hee (3+1 years, 4 billion won). 29 billion won was poured into Stove League, including a long-term contract of up to 9 billion won for 5 years with starting pitcher Park Se-woong. Pitchers Kim Sang-soo, Shin Jeong-rak, and Yoon Myeong-jun, who were released from other teams, and outfielder Ahn Kwon-soo were brought in to reinforce the depth.
Their addition has been a great help to Lotte. The three free agents who were brought in with a lot of money, as well as the released players who were brought in at a low price, put on a revival show. All of them have established themselves as key players indispensable to the team. The addition of external resources stimulated the competitive spirit of the existing players. Created a healthy synergistic effect internally.
Pitching ability is considered a factor of anxiety. Lotte’s team ERA is 4.75, 9th out of 10 clubs. The starting pitcher’s ERA is last at 5.03. The sluggishness of foreign pitchers Dan Strayley and Charlie Barnes is crucial. Strayley has an average ERA of 5.82 with 2 losses in 5 games, and Barnes is sluggish with an ERA of 7.58 with 1 win and 1 loss in 4 games. It is fatal if a foreign pitcher does not play his part throughout the season. Lotte is not unaware of this either. It is known that one out of two foreign pitchers is considering a replacement.
Lotte will be put to the test this week. After facing the KIA Tigers during the week, they face the Samsung Lions on the weekend. Both KIA and Samsung are currently on a 5-game winning streak. KIA swept 3 consecutive matches in 5 years and 10 months against the LG Twins at Jamsil Stadium on the weekend. Samsung, which regained its concentration, wrote a record of winning by one point in the last five games in a row.
In the past, Lotte had many good results in the spring, but then sat down after the middle of the season. He even earned the dishonorable nickname of ‘Bomde’ because he only shines in spring. Last year too, Lotte did well at the beginning of the season. The April record was 2nd with 14 wins, 1 draw and 9 losses. The multiplier was the same as in April this year. From May, his performance fell, and he eventually finished the season in 8th place. It is a common opinion that it is still too early to be excited and thrilled even though we can be happy with Lotte’s performance now. 메이저사이트