Lotte is a mysterious team that wins without foreign bats? A super backup and a word from the captain
The consensus was that Lotte’s days were numbered. But Lotte is still on a roll.
They won their third straight game on the 27th with a 6-5 victory over Gochuk Kiwoom, and now have a 26-15 record with a .634 winning percentage. They trail second-place SSG by 0.5 games and first-place LG by one game, putting them in position to take over the top spot with a win.
Interestingly, Lotte doesn’t currently have a foreign hitter in its first-team roster. Jack Rex, who is in his second year in the KBO, is currently sidelined with a knee injury and has been out for nearly two weeks. Rex’s last game was against Hanwha in Daejeon on the 16th, but Lotte managed to sweep the three-game series against Hanwha and have been on a roll ever since, losing to SSG by one game, but taking two games against the NC by two games to one, followed by two games against Kiwoom.먹튀검증
Of course, the strength of the bullpen, which is leading the league in ERA in May, is also a big factor, but baseball is a game where you have to score runs to win. How did Lotte manage to hold on despite the absence of foreign batters?
Firstly, we have to mention ‘super backup’ Park Seung-wook. Park is batting .365 with seven RBIs in 32 games this year. He’s been impressive whenever he’s been called upon to start. His batting average is so good that he was promoted to bat second against Gochuk Kiwoom on the 27th. “Seung-wook Park is one of those players who works really hard and trains really hard,” said Lotte manager Larry Sutton. “He has good mechanics as a batsman. “He has good mechanics as a hitter, and his recent improvement is due to his ability to execute a steady approach at the plate.
With Park Seung-wook at second base, Ahn Chi-hong at first base and Ko Seung-min in the outfield, the line-up is not difficult to construct. Having a number of players with multi-position capabilities is also one of Lotte’s strengths.
In the top of the seventh inning, with the game tied at 0-0, Lotte showed incredible concentration to score six runs off Kiwoom starter Choi Won-tae. Yoo Kang-nam, who hit the game-winning double, hasn’t been hitting well lately. “Captain (Ahn) Chi-hong told me in a meeting in Daejeon, ‘Everyone wants to hit. But let’s do it with the team batting in mind,’ he said. Everyone is playing with focus when they really need to score. I think that’s why we’re getting good results because we’re playing baseball with a unified mindset.”
Sutton’s emphasis on “one-man baseball” is finally paying off. Even when one player is injured or struggling, others step up to fill the void. That’s why they’ve been able to survive the absence of foreign bats. Now, Rex will make a strong start to his comeback, starting with his appearance in the Futures League on the 30th. We can look forward to a stronger June for Lotte.