Lotte 30th starting lineup ‘Na Gyun-an→Han Hyun-hee’, two days ago 21 pitches→one day off, ‘Why?
The Lotte Giants, looking to end their losing streak, will start a pitcher who pitched in relief two days ago. Why the sudden change in starting pitcher?
Lotte announced on Tuesday that right-hander Han Hyun-hee, 30, will start the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League game against the KIA Tigers at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field.
Han has appeared in 25 games this year, posting a 4-8 record with a 5.59 ERA and three shutouts. He signed a free-agent contract worth up to 4 billion won ($4.0 million) before the season, and has been rotating between the starting rotation and the bullpen. He has been particularly good in the second half of the season, going four games and four innings without allowing an earned run.
It’s not unusual to see Han starting. He’s already made 11 starts this year, and this is his first opportunity to do so since being dropped from the starting rotation after the Incheon SSG game on March 16. The reason Lotte signed him in the first place is because he has experience as both a full-time starter and a setup man, so he’s more than capable of starting.
However, the timing is a bit questionable. He took the mound in the bottom of the fifth inning with runners on first and second with one out, following Park Se-woong (28), who started the game against KIA two days prior. After getting the first batter, Kim Sun-bin (34), to fly out to center field, Han allowed the runner to advance to third on a wild pitch, and then gave up a single to Lee Woo-sung (29) in the seventh to score Park Se-woong. Han retired Kim Tae-gun (34) on a fly to left field.
On the day, Han threw 21 pitches in ⅔ of an inning and was called upon to start immediately after a day of rest. It was an unlikely start.
The reason: injury. Lotte has been using a starting rotation of Charlie Barnes, Park Se-woong, Lee In-bok, Na Kyun-ahn, and Aaron Wilkerson in the second half of the season. Initially, Na Gyun-ahn, 24, was planned to start the 30th, but he was diagnosed with a left hamstring strain before his start. “He will skip one start,” a Lotte official said. As a result, Han Hyun-hee, who has started before, was selected.
The KBO Monthly MVP in April (4 wins, no losses, and a 1.34 ERA), Na Gyun-ahn was a regular in the rotation for Lotte in the first half of the season, contributing to the team’s rise, especially when foreign pitchers struggled early in the season. However, Na’s monthly ERA rose to 5.32 in June and 6.23 in July. In his most recent start on July 25 against Doosan in Jamsil, he gave up six runs (five earned) on six hits (one home run) in four innings with four walks and three strikeouts. Then came the injury. It’s not serious, but he’ll have to take a turn off anyway.
In addition to Na, Lotte has been dealing with a slew of injuries in the three-game series in Gwangju. Before the 29th game, starting catcher Yoo Kang-nam (31) was removed from the first team roster. After feeling discomfort in his left adductor region while swinging in the previous game, a hospital examination revealed a small injury to his side, and he will be out for two to three weeks.
The team also lost first baseman Jeong Hoon (36) and second baseman Ahn Chi-hong (33) during the game. Ahn was replaced by Park Seung-wook (31) at the end of the second inning after he swung wildly at his first pitch in the first inning and felt a bump on his left back. In addition, in the second inning, Jeong Hoon was hit on the wrist by a batted ball while trying to catch a sharp pitch in the field, and he eventually returned to the bench after complaining of pain.
Both Ahn Chi-hong and Jung-hoon’s injuries are not serious. Ahn Chi-hong was substituted to protect the player, while Jung Hoon was examined at the hospital and found to have no broken bones and was diagnosed with a simple bruise. However, their early departures left Lotte fighting an uphill battle, and they eventually lost 1-4 to clinch the series in Luzhou.토토사이트
Lotte, which was in first place at one point in the first half of the season, slumped to its sixth consecutive losing series in June, and its 5 percent winning percentage collapsed at the end of the first half. As of the 29th, Lotte has a season winning percentage of .482 (41-44) and is tied for sixth place with seventh-place KIA. If they drop the 30th game, they will fall to seventh place with a sweep. Han Hyun-hee’s shoulders are bound to be heavy.