By Daehyun Moon After a rough start to the season, the Hanwha Eagles are looking to turn things around in June and finish the first half of the season on a high note.
Hanwha is currently in eighth place with 34 wins, 4 losses and 40 draws. Although they are at the bottom of the standings, they are only 2.5 games behind the fifth-place Lotte Giants (38 wins and 39 losses), so they can climb up the standings quickly if they get their act together.
Hanwha got off to a rough start this season. After bringing in free agents Chae Eun-sung, Lee Tae-yang, and Oh Sun-jin before the season, Hanwha had high hopes, but finished April with a record of 6-1, 17 losses, and a win-loss margin of -11.
This was worse than the first month of the 2020-2022 season, when the team finished last for three consecutive years.
Eventually, Hanwha parted ways with Carlos Suvero, who was still under contract, and appointed Choi Won-ho as head coach. It was a time when Hanwha was on the rise, but the club realized that a change was inevitable in order to improve its performance.
Choi took over midseason and quickly erased the colors of his predecessor by modifying the defensive shift and banning green lights for runners.
The result was an eight-game winning streak from March 21 to March 1 that moved them up to ninth place. The winning streak was snapped on Feb. 2, but the team then finished the first half with a 3-3 record against top-ranked Lotte, SSG Landers and LG Twins.
After a dismal 24 wins, 1 draw and 53 losses in 78 games in the first half of last year for a winning percentage of 0.312, Hanwha enters the second half with a winning percentage of 0.459 thanks to 10 more wins in the first half of this year than last year.
The general consensus is that South Korea’s upswing will likely continue into the second half of the season.
The starting “one-two-three punch” of Felix Peña, Ricardo Sanchez, and Moon Dong-ju is a threat. Peña, a second-year Hanwha player, is 7-5 with a 2.83 ERA this season, while Sanchez (5-1 with a 2.61 ERA) is also performing well.
Moon Dong-ju, who struggled in May, has been solid since June. Add to that “super rookie” Kim Seo-hyun, who is currently learning the ropes in the second team, and Hanwha’s mound will be even more impressive if he can take over as a starter in the first team in the second half.메이저놀이터
In the bullpen, Lee Tae-yang, Kim Bum-soo, Yoon Dae-kyung, Joo Hyun-sang, Kang Jae-min, and Park Sang-won are also performing well.
In the batting order, Chae Eun-sung, Kim In-hwan, and Lee Jin-young lead the top of the order, led by Noh Si-hwan, who is on pace for his first home run of the season.
In the lower order, Choi Jae-hoon is also showing signs of resurgence after an early season slump.
The return of Ha Ju-seok is also a good sign for the team. After serving a 70-game suspension for drunk driving at the end of last year, Ha returned to the first team on the 11th, and his recent batting average of over 5% in two games in the Futures (second team) league is promising.
Hanwha, which has been recognized as a change of pace, will open the second half of the season with a three-game series at home against the fourth-place NC Dinos, who are 3.5 games ahead of them.
If Hanwha can get at least a winning series, they could shake up the mid-table from the start of the second half.