(By Kyuwon Lee, MHN Sports) As we enter the halfway point of June, professional baseball is still heating up, led by the Lotte Giants.
This week’s professional baseball games include Hanwha-Dusan (Jamsil), LG-Kiwoom (Gochuk), SSG-KIA (Gwangju), KT-Lotte (Busan), and NC-Samsung (Daegu) during the week (June 6-8).
The three-game weekend (Sept. 9-11) will feature KIA-Dusan (Jamsil), Lotte-Samsung (Daegu), LG-Hanwha (Daejeon), SSG-NC (Changwon), and Kiwoom-KT (Suwon).
It will be a week to watch to see if the early-season report card of a “three-way tie for first place” will be maintained in the professional baseball league, which began on April 1 and has played a total of 720 games, 144 per team.
Third-place Lotte (29 wins, 19 losses, 0.604), which is two games behind first-place SSG Landers (32 wins, 1 tie, 18 losses, 0.640) and one game behind second-place LG Twins (32 wins, 1 tie, 20 losses, 0.615), is the strongest team in terms of momentum.
Lotte has a lot of momentum.
The word “momentum” has become a symbol of Lotte baseball in 2023, as veteran reliever Kim Sang-soo mentioned in an interview after his resurgence with the team.
This week, Lotte will play a three-game midweek series against the KT Wiz in Busan (6-8) and then travel to Daegu for a three-game weekend series against the Samsung Lions (9-11).
If they add a win on the 6th or 7th, they will become the first team in the 21st century to reach 30 wins in 50 games.
Lotte last reached 30 wins (15 losses and three ties) in 48 games in 1999. But they haven’t reached 30 wins in 50 games since.
This year, Lotte’s victory clock is running very fast.
With 29 wins in 48 games, Lotte needs to win on the 6th or 7th against KT to reach 30 wins in 50 games for the first time in 24 years.
This season, Lotte’s new faces – transfer infielder Noh Jin-hyuk, rookie outfielder Kim Min-seok, and second-year outfielder Yoon Dong-hee – have been working in synergy with established members Jeon Jun-woo and Ahn Chi-hong.
The starting lineup has also stabilized, with Park Se-woong and Dan Straily rebounding from early-season slumps.
As Lotte’s performance improved, the crowd became more enthusiastic. Last weekend, Sajik Stadium in Busan was packed to capacity for two consecutive days on the 3rd and 4th.
The second-place LG Twins, who are on pace to reach 30 wins this season (47 games) but faltered after dropping all three games of a weekend series against the NC Dinos, host the eighth-place Kiwoom Heroes and ninth-place Hanwha Eagles.
SSG faces mid-table teams KIA Tigers (6th) and NC (4th).
Only two games separate first-place SSG from third-place Lotte. The top of the standings could change at any time.
Samsung Lions closer Oh Seung-hwan is one save away from 500 career saves in Korea, the United States, and Japan.
Seung-hwan Oh has amassed 499 saves 먹튀검증 (377 in the KBO, 80 in Nippon Professional Baseball, and 42 in the Major Leagues) between Korea, Japan, and the United States.
Only two pitchers in the U.S. Major Leagues have more than 500 saves, Mariano Rivera (652) and Trevor Hoffman (601). Hitoki Iwase holds the record for most saves by an individual in Nippon Professional Baseball with 407.
Samsung will face NC and Lotte in Daegu this week.
Oh Seung-hwan has a chance to reach the 500-save milestone at home in Daegu.