Desperate start → May +3 wins ‘3rd place in the league’…Lotte in June gets stronger, soon ‘Cheongun Manma’ join

It overcame the difficult May, when a large number of key players left the country, with +3 wins. Now is the time for veterans who have been injured to come back and help themselves.노래방알바

The Lotte Giants shouted “Win Now” after the end of the 2022 season. Lotte made up for its biggest weakness by recruiting Yoo Kang-nam for a total of 8 billion won for four years in the FA (free agent) market, Roh Jin-hyuk for four years, and Han Hyun-hee for 4 billion won for three plus one year. Based on the reinforcement of its power, Lotte made a strong splash at the beginning of the season, finishing April as the sole No. 1 player. However, injuries began to pour in from June, and in the end, it failed to make the postseason stage for six consecutive years.

As a result, Lotte made major changes by appointing “master” Kim Tae-hyung this winter. Although the team was not strong enough to seek the presidential election right away, it was a moment that showed its strong will to experience fall baseball somehow. However, Lotte’s early days of the season were quite disappointing. Han Dong-hee and Kim Min-seok, who had high expectations for this year, left the league in ninth place with one win and six losses during the month of March due to injury even before the regular season begins.

For now, Lotte tried to change the mood by recruiting Son Ho-young, risking bleeding from a promising player named Woo Kang-hoon, a side arm of military who is throwing fast balls over 150 kilometers in order to boost the atmosphere of separation. However, Lotte did not have a dramatic twist. Having nowhere to fall compared to March when it started its worst game, Lotte remained at seven wins, one draw and 15 losses with a win rate of 0.318 during the month of April, and experienced humiliation at the end of its schedule, in which it could not even step on 10 wins.

It was in May that Lotte started to get better little by little. For now, it was very big that the starting lineup recovered stability. Lee In-bok, who was the fifth starter, was removed from the first division after a series of slumps, but Aaron Wilkerson, who had been troubled by his lack of speed at the beginning of the season, began to recover, keeping the mound strong with one, two, and three punches. Even with the gradually rising trend, there was no bad news. “Captain” Jeon Joon-woo and Jung Hoon were away due to injuries.

The “2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League” game between the Lotte Giants and the Doosan Bears took place at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on May 18, 2024. Lotte’s Yoon Dong-hee is delighted after hitting a single with no outs and runners at first base in the top of the first inning

However, it was the promising players’ power that enabled them to overcome this crisis. Na Seung-yeop, who was called by the primary team at the end of April, swung the bat with 13 hits, one homer, 10 RBIs, 13 runs scored, and a batting average of 0.321 during May, while Ko Seung-min, who was called up at the same time, surged to 30 hits, one homer, 15 RBIs, 13 runs scored, and a batting average of 0.330. Furthermore, Hwang Seong-bin, who had made a huge impact in late April, returned to the forefront with 17 hits, one homer, 15 runs scored, and a batting average of 0.340 while Yoon Dong-hee recovered with 34 hits, one homer, nine RBIs, 23 runs scored, and a batting average of 0.366.

Lotte, which has been energized by the great batting experience of promising players, recorded an excellent performance in May, ranking third in the league with 13 wins, 1 draw and 10 losses, and recorded a winning margin of +3 wins for the first time this year. The gap with SSG Landers, who are ranked fifth in the postseason, is 5.5 games wide, but it is still too early to give up considering the situation in which they were in despair at the beginning of the season. Lotte also gained hope as the teams in the middle and upper ranks have recently had a hard time, suffering from long consecutive losses. And with the rise in May, the team’s atmosphere brightened, and the confidence that the game behind them can be turned around enough.

If the team successfully rebounded in May thanks to stellar performances by its starters and promising players, it is time for veterans to join the team and cheer up in June. The player who is set to return to the main league soonest is Jung Hoon. Jung Hoon, who was treated at the Ijima Antibody Center in Japan after being removed from the first team due to tendinitis in his hip, started to play in the second team game from March 31. Although he recorded multi hits in the first game and failed to produce hits the next day, he garnered two walks. In particular, the fact that he played defense at the first base is a very positive factor.

After Jung Hoon returns, Jeon Joon-woo is expected to return. Jeon, who suffered a calf injury in preparation for the Suwon KT Wiz match, also underwent treatment in Japan along with Jung Hoon for a quick return. As it is expected that Jeon will be able to return to the mound in mid- to late June if he has no problem in his recovery, as he is expected to be eliminated from the first division on April 17. Charlie Barnes, the “left-hander” who suddenly stepped down from the mound due to minor damage to his adductor muscle, is also likely to return to the mound at a similar time with Jeon.

Lotte, which decorated its three-game series against the NC Dinos last weekend with a winning series, will face the KIA Tigers in Gwangju from the 4th. Currently, KIA is ranked first in the league, but I have a good memory of winning the “sweep win” in 1862 days since April 16-18, 2019.

It is good news that supporters will join the team in the future. However, it will take about 15 days for them to return and become “complete.” In order for them to overcome this period well, the performance of Kim Jin-wook and Lee Min-seok, who are “promising special players,” is essential in the starting rotation, which has become the biggest concern. It remains to be seen how Lotte will make a start this week with Wilkerson, who is known as “Sajik Jesus.”
Reporter Park Seung-hwan (a)

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