It’s been about two months since the start of the regular season, but the “big three” system hasn’t changed. The LG Twins, SSG Landers, and Lotte Giants are in a tight race for the top spot.
LG, the first team to reach the 30-win plateau this season, leads the way with a 30-1 record (0.652), followed closely by SSG with a 28-1 record (0.636). Third-place Lotte is just one game behind SSG in second place with 26 wins and 16 losses (0.619), making them a team that could shake up the race at any time.
Narrowing down to May, the top spot is still in the hands of three teams. LG leads the monthly winning percentage with 15 wins, 1 draw and 5 losses (0.750) in May, followed by SSG (13 wins, 1 draw and 7 losses – 0.650) and Lotte (12 wins, 8 losses and 0.600).
So, how do the managers who have been at the forefront of the competition view the current situation?
LG head coach Yeom Kyung-yeop experienced the race for the top spot in 2019 with SK (now SSG).
Although they were unable to hold on to the top spot in the regular season as they were overtaken by the Doosan Bears at the end of the season, they set a dominant pace and widened the gap significantly by the middle of the season.
For now, the team doesn’t care about their current ranking. “In May, my goal is to accumulate as many wins as I can with the strength I have without pushing myself too hard,” he said, adding, “Right now, I’m more interested in accumulating a few more pluses (in terms of win-loss margin) than fighting for the standings.”
Especially at the beginning of the season, it was difficult to have a ‘complete team’ due to a series of injuries. “We need to accumulate a lot of positives so that we can have a cushion when we’re not good,” said Yeom. “You can’t be good all year long while racing in the regular season. Baseball is a game of flow and luck plays a role, but our flow is not bad right now, so at times like this, we need to keep our guard up and win one more game to have the strength to survive.”
SSG head coach Kim Won-hyung, who led the team to a wire-to-wire victory last year and remained in first place from the opening game to the final day of the season, has a similar opinion.
“We’re only a third of the way through (the season). The first three months from June are the most important,” he said. “The players need to accumulate a lot of wins in April and May so that even if there is a little bit of a slump, they can overcome it. So I think the players did a great job in April and May this year, and I think it will get better from June to August.”안전놀이터
Kim Won-hyung, who helped the SK Wyverns become a ‘powerhouse’ team in the late 2000s, said, “In April and May, SK ran like crazy. It was baseball with a lot of team colors, so it was said that it would spread in the summer, but it didn’t.” “It was a time when young players like Jung Geun-woo, Kim Kang-min, and Cho Dong-hwa and veteran players like Park Jae-hong, Kim Jae-hyun, and Lee Ho-joon were in harmony with each other, and the team went in such an atmosphere. (Even now) I think the players know this atmosphere and can overcome it well.”