The fateful second half of the season has arrived, but Lotte has yet to show a turnaround.
Already down to seventh place, Lotte’s 1-4 loss to SSG at Sajik Stadium on April 4 left them with a season record of 42-48, and now it looks like even getting back to a five-win season will be difficult. The gap with NC and Doosan in fourth place has widened to 4.5 games. It’s hard to believe that they once formed a three-way tie with LG and SSG.
Lotte vowed to make a fresh start in the second half of the season with the addition of two new foreign players (Niko Goodrum and Aaron Wilkerson), but they have yet to show any signs of turning things around.
Right now, Lotte has two batters who have been hot in the second half of the season. Park Seung-wook, who is third in the league in second-half batting with a .412 on-base percentage, is hitting .302 with 16 RBIs and 12 stolen bases this season. Lotte manager Larry Sutton said, “Seung-wook Park is one of those players who works really hard and trains really hard. He has good mechanics as a hitter,” he said, adding, “His batting average has improved because he has the ability to make a consistent approach at the plate.”
The same goes for Kim Min-seok, who is batting .383 in the second half of the season. His season batting average is now up to .282. He’s been dubbed the “next Lee Jung-hoo,” and he’s on pace to reach a triple-digit batting average in his rookie season. “The biggest reason is experience,” Sutton said of Kim’s growth, “He’s seen a lot of opposing pitchers and how they approach him, and he’s able to handle it. It’s a testament to his maturity at such a young age.”
The problem is that they don’t have anyone else with a hot bat. While Jung-hoon is batting .391 with one home run and four RBIs in the second half, Lotte has a long list of players with poor second-half batting averages, including Noh Jin-hyuk (.081), Han Dong-hee (.148), Jeon Jun-woo (.195), and Yoon Dong-hee (.212), and even Ahn Kwon-soo, who recently returned from injury, has struggled, failing to get a hit in 16 of his 20 at-bats. Yoo Kang-nam, who was dropped from the first team roster due to a sore left side, also struggled in the second half, batting .167. Goodrum, who joined the team in the second half of the season, has raised his batting average to .255, but has hovered in the single digits at times.바카라사이트
To make matters worse, the team’s firepower is weak with 41 home runs, and as a rifle team, they can’t even fire a shotgun. I don’t understand how Lotte scored five runs against the best pitcher in the league, Eric Peddy, in their last two games against NC. It was a miracle that day, with Lee Jung-geun hitting a surprise home run, but we can’t always hope for miracles. For now, a few late-inning hitters are not enough to spark the offense. Is there a solution to Jeong-Nyeong Lotte’s batting?