KIA has been on an upward curve in the second half of the year, but took a step back last week with a 1-3 record. It looked like it was turning into the black, but it’s back in the red. The 5% win rate is tough. They are hovering in sixth place with a shot at the top five. In fact, they are trailing Lotte by 1.5 games. The biggest change was the loss of captain Kim Sun-bin.
In April and May, Kim led the 꽁머니사이트 team with a 3-for-3 batting average. However, he struggled in June, hitting just 2-for-3 and 1-for-3 in July. He fractured his right thumb while fielding a ball and missed 20 days. It was expected that he would be out for a long time, but he recovered quickly and joined the batting lineup early.
His bat never quite caught fire, but he rebounded in August. In six games, he went 9-for-23 with two doubles, a triple, and seven RBIs. In the sixth spot in the batting order, he capitalized on opportunities created by the Athletics trio of Park Chan-ho, Choi Won-joon, Kim Do-young, and the cleanup trio of Na Sung-beom, Choi Hyung-woo, and Socrates.
However, a sudden hamstring injury took him out of the lineup on Aug. 8. With Kim dropping out of the top six, the lower order became a deflated balloon. The batting lineup was also disjointed. They scored 13 runs on the 12th for a big win, but in the next three games, they only scored two runs (against LG Electronics on the 9th), one run (against Lotte on the 11th), and one run (against Lotte on the 13th). That’s four points in three games.
[OSEN=Suwon, Reporter Choi Kyu-han] On the afternoon of the 8th, a game between KT Wiz and KIA Tigers in the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ was held at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do.In the first inning, with the bases loaded and two outs, Choi Hyung-woo exchanges greetings with Kim Sun-bin after hitting a run-scoring single for the KIA Socrates. 2023.07.08 / [email protected]
With Kim Sun-bin out of the lineup, Kim Jong-kook used a different batting order against LG on the 9th, with Park Chan-ho batting second, Socrates batting sixth, and Kim Kyu-sung batting ninth. However, the cohesion did not come through. Against Lotte on the 11th, they batted Hwang Dae-in at No. 6, but he went hitless. The offense also managed only one run on nine hits and two walks.
Against Lotte on the 13th, Lee Chang-jin batted sixth and Hwang Dae-in seventh against left-handed pitcher Charlie Barnes, but no hits came. Kim Sun-bin was 3-for-6 against Barnes. What’s more, he’s a phenomenal 4-for-9 against lefties this year. Without him, the batting order was disorganized.
Kim Kyu-sung, who played second base in place of Kim, made a series of crucial defensive errors. Kim Kyu-sung’s defense was superior to Kim Sun-bin’s, but he missed some crucial shots at the plate. The team briefly used Lee Chang-jin at third base, Kim Do-young at shortstop, and Park Chan-ho at second base, but it didn’t work as Kim made an error.
Kim is scheduled to return on the 18th if all goes well. The team will be without Kim for the next three games against last-place Kiwoom this week. KIA will have to make up the deficit in the three-game series. Minimizing Kim’s absence will be key to their success.