‘Ellotgi’, the box office guarantee check of the KBO league, these three teams will be able to achieve the first fall baseball in history.
The LG Twins, Lotte Giants, and KIA Tigers have a long history as the original KBO League clubs (including predecessors). However, in the 41 seasons until last year, there has never been a time when three teams have advanced to the postseason at the same time in the same year. In the 1995 pennant race, LG came second, Lotte came third, and KIA’s predecessor Haitai ranked fourth, but due to the regulations at the time (if the 3rd-4th place ride is more than 3.5 games, the semi-playoff will be lost).
These three teams are all within sight of fall baseball this year. At the end of the first half of the 2023 season, LG proudly took first place with a win rate of 0.620 (49 wins, 30 losses, 2 draws). Lotte also had ups and downs, such as 9 consecutive wins at the end of April and 6 consecutive losing series in June, but finished the first half in 5th place (0.494 win rate). KIA, which once fell to ninth place in early July, also rose to sixth place, one game behind Lotte, with six consecutive wins.
Leading LG, Lotte-KIA are within sight of fall baseballLG ranked first in team ERA (3.61) and batting average (0.285) this year, establishing itself as the best team in the league. On the mound, except for ace Adam Plutko and Lim Chan-kyu, the starting lineup was shaky, but the bullpen, including Ham Deok-joo and Park Myung-geun, worked solidly. In the other lineup, foreign hitter Austin Dean, FA (free agent) Park Dong-won, and top hitter Hong Chang-ki kept the center. Here, unexpected names such as Shin Min-jae and Kim Min-seong also played an active role. SPOTV commentator Yang Sang-moon summed up the first half of LG, saying, “There was controversy over ‘running baseball’ at the beginning of the season, but isn’t it an achievement to build a lineup that other teams can’t follow?”
Lotte, which caused a sensation in the early stages, performed well amid strong pitching by middle pitching pitchers such as Koo Seung-min, Kim Sang-soo, and Kim Jin-wook, as well as new faces such as starter Na Gyun-an and outfielder Ahn Kwon-soo. However, since June, both the bullpen ERA (6.54) and team batting average (0.236) have come down to last place. Park Se-woong survived in the starting lineup, but the two foreign pitchers Dan Strayley and Charlie Barnes showed ups and downs. Member Yang said, “It is regrettable because the impact was strong in April and May, but we should think positively in that we maintained 5th place.”
KIA’s main gun Na Seong-beom (calf muscle tear) and hopeful Kim Do-yeong (finger fracture) were out of the line due to injuries in the early stages. Choi Hyung-woo and Lee Woo-sung performed more than expected in other lines, but they could not fill the home room where Park Dong-won left. Also, foreign pitchers Adonis Medina and Sean Anderson were shaken. However, the first half was able to end on an upward trend thanks to favorable factors such as the return of the injured, the replacement of foreign pitchers, and the trade of catcher Kim Tae-gun. Commissioner Yang Sang-moon said, “The last 10 days or so showed KIA’s strength.
Elotgi’s performance has a significant impact on the mobilization of spectators in the second halfWhat will the three teams look like in the second half? Commissioner Yang Sang-moon analyzed, “LG will unconditionally play solo in the second half. The current lineup composition is very good.” However, he mentioned, “unlike a team aiming for a championship, the level of completion of the starting lineup is not high. This will be a concern internally in the team.”토토사이트
Regarding KIA’s second half, Yang said, “It goes up unconditionally. The power I thought at the beginning of the season was created.” In particular, referring to the recruitment of Kim Tae-gun at the end of the first half, he said, “As the catcher problem has been resolved, it should be seen that it has entered a stable phase.”
Regarding Lotte, Commissioner Yang said, “It is important how long the current situation is maintained.” At the same time, he analyzed, “The key is how quickly Ahn Kwon-soo (who underwent elbow surgery) recovers, whether catcher Yoo Gang-nam does as well as expected, and foreign pitchers.”
This year, the KBO League exceeded 4 million spectators in the first half amidst the struggle of ‘Elotgi’ (4,422,020). If the three teams continue their momentum in the second half and achieve a box office hit in the postseason, the KBO League is expected to be able to jump out of the tunnel called Corona 19 and make another leap forward.