They became the worst team in September. The September win rate is lower than Kiwoom, which is ranked last.
안전놀이터 SSG Landers was unable to break the losing streak. Instead of escaping a losing streak, they lost both games of the double header against the LG Twins and fell into a 5-game losing streak.
SSG suffered a 3-8 comeback loss in the first game of the double header in the 14th game of the season against the LG Twins of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League held at Jamsil Stadium on the 17th.
The first point was SSG’s, but the game was overturned. Starter Gwang-Hyun Kim did well, allowing 2 runs (1 earned run) in 5 innings, but the game was stopped for 70 minutes due to rain that poured during LG’s attack in the bottom of the 6th inning, and although it resumed later, the trend shifted to LG.
Rather than blaming the sky, there was an unfortunate throwing error by third baseman Choi Jeong in the process of allowing a run in the bottom of the second inning, and he also missed the opportunity to reach second and third base with one out in the top of the eighth inning. After Kim Gwang-hyun, veteran bullpen Noh Kyung-eun also collapsed in the game that resumed after the rain stopped.
SSG, led by an ‘ace’, suffered consecutive losses due to defensive errors, the silence of the hitters on chances, and the poor performance of veteran Pil Seung-jo.
SSG also scored first in the second game. But we suffered another defeat. We lost 5-9. This time, starting pitcher Kirk McCarty gave up 7 runs (6 earned runs) in 3⅔ innings and was defeated by LG’s batting lineup.
This is McCarty, who acted as a ‘one-two punch’ with Gwang-Hyun Kim. However, it is not good with 18 runs (17 earned runs) in the last 3 games. He pitched 11⅔ innings. There has been no quality start pitching since the LG game on the 18th of last month (6 scoreless innings). The trusted selection card is shaking.
Actually, this part is a big concern. Gwang-Hyun Kim, McCarty, and Roenis Elias should hold out as the first to third starters. Only then can a battle for rankings be possible. However, as the starting pitchers take turns struggling, the bullpen is losing strength. Coach Won-Hyung Kim repeatedly emphasizes and expects that “the starting lineup must do well,” but things do not go as he intended.
The defensive mistakes are also disappointing. Players who weren’t worried are making mistakes. Choi Jeong-i made an error in the first game of the double header, and Park Seong-han made an error in the second game. A total of six errors were made in two games, including Choi Jeong and Park Seong-han. Mistakes led to conceded goals.
If the defense is unstable, pitchers cannot throw the ball properly. We need to focus more in order to enter the top 5 again in the remaining schedule. First of all, the starting team and defense must find stability. Only then can you go up again.
In the second game of the double header, second baseman Ahn Sang-hyun’s throwing error was also painful. There may be a great desire to catch the runner, but excessive throwing is becoming toxic.
SSG has 2 wins, 1 draw, and 11 losses in 14 games since September, and its winning percentage is only .154. Kiwoom is worse than 3 wins and 8 losses (winning percentage .273).
SSG was swept and lost in three consecutive away games against Gwangju KIA from the 1st to the 3rd, and then only won 1 and lost 2 in three consecutive away games against Hanwha in Daejeon.
In the 3-game series away to Suwon KT, they faced 1 win, 1 draw, and 1 loss, but lost 0-3 in the home game in Incheon on the 12th. KT suffered the humiliation of one hit against foreign pitcher Wes Benjamin. Afterwards, on the 14th, they lost 2-3 at Jamsil Doosan. Roenis Elias fought back, but Seo Jin-yong was defeated.
We played three games against LG over two days, the 16th and 17th, and lost all of them. Cracks are showing in the starting lineup that was working well, and key fielders who were showing good skills are making mistakes. In addition, Choi Ji-hoon, who is essential to the team as a key center fielder and second hitter, collided with second baseman Kim Seong-hyun while fielding in the game against LG and suffered an injury near his chin.
An SSG official said, “As a result of the examination, Choi Ji-hoon was found to have temporomandibular joint muscle stiffness and bruising. “He plans to continuously check his condition.” SSG takes a day off and continues with an away trip to Hanwha in Daejeon on the 19th and a trip to Samsung in Daegu on the 20th. On the 21st, we have to face LG again in the final match of the season.
If Choi Ji-hoon’s condition is not normal, he will inevitably suffer losses in offense and defense. In addition, Choi Ji-hoon and starting shortstop Park Seong-han will not be able to play in team games from the 23rd. The two players will be called up to prepare for the Hangzhou Asian Games. Afterwards, he returns after the Asian Games.
They will have to spend the last part of the season without their two starting center line players. Other teams also have key players leaving, but how to fill the void of two key players who must play in every game is also a big task. There is also a double header with Doosan on the 27th.
It remains to be seen how SSG, which won the ‘Wire to Wire’ title in the regular season last year and won the Korean Series, will overcome the difficulties in the second half of this season.