The lights didn’t go out at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on Tuesday. That’s because the batters, who had been held to one run in their last three games to snap a four-game losing streak, didn’t go to work.
KT lost its seventh game of the season against Doosan in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League 1-10 at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on April 2. The result was their fourth straight defeat after four straight wins, dropping them to 30 losses (16 wins, 2 draws) on the season. They remain at the bottom of the standings, two games behind ninth-place Hanwha.
A silent batting lineup was the decisive factor. Against the Doosan mound of ace Raul Alcantara, Park Jung-soo, and Baek Seung-woo, they managed just one run on three hits. Moon Sang-chul’s double in the fourth inning, Kang Hyun-woo’s solo home run in the eighth, and Kang Baek-ho’s single up the middle in the ninth. After Moon Sang-chul’s double in the fourth inning, Park Byung-ho’s shot was caught by Jose Rojas in left field, and Kang Baek-ho’s hit came two batters later in the ninth inning when the game was already out of reach. KT’s bats failed to capitalize on the Doosan mound.
KT Park Byung-ho / OSEN DB
The game was scheduled to end at 9:25 p.m., but the lights at KT Wiz Park didn’t go out until after 10 p.m. After the game, a batting cage was set up for pregame training, and No. 4 hitter Park Byung-ho, signature hitters Kang Baek-ho, Jang Jun-won, and Kang Hyun-woo came out with their bats and performed special at-bats on balls thrown by head coach Kim Tae-kyun. A KT official said, “Today’s postgame special was not planned. It seems that the players requested the training.”
It wasn’t the only thing. In the outfield on the left side of the stadium, there was also an unusual defense drill. Infielder Lee Ho-yeon and outfielder Kim Min-hyuk took part in a so-called defense supplement class in front of Lee Kang-chul. Unlike the extras, it was confirmed that the defensive training was done under Lee’s direction.
Their sloppy defense in the seventh inning set the stage for the big inning. Trailing 0-1 with two outs in the top of the seventh, third baseman Lee Ho-yeon failed to catch Lee Yoo-chan’s fly ball, allowing the ball to sail into the outfield, and left fielder Kim Min-hyuk quickly leaped forward to make the catch but made a throwing error that allowed Lee to score a second run. The shaky KT bullpen gave up five runs in the seventh inning to give their opponents the lead.
KT, which was picked to win the title along with LG and SSG before the season, is in last place after 48 games with a record of 16 wins, 2 스포츠토토 draws, and 30 losses (.348 winning percentage). A rash of injuries, a lackluster foreign one-two punch, a collapse in starting pitching, and an ineffective batting lineup have combined to keep the team from turning things around for nearly a month after falling to last place on July 7. There are still 96 games left in the season, and the team is only 7.5 games behind the fifth-place NC in the fall baseball standings, but its recent performance has been more of a disappointment than a hope.
In particular, the batting lineup scored only seven runs during the four-game losing streak. From the 4-6 loss to Samsung Electronics in Daegu on the 28th, to the 1-6 loss to KIA in Gwangju on the 30th, the 1-7 loss to KIA on the 31st, and the 1-10 loss to Doosan on June 2nd, the offense has been frustrating. It is interpreted that the batters who could not see this made an effort to recover their hitting feeling by requesting special batting after work.
On June 3, KT’s bats will face Doosan’s fifth starter Kim Dong-joo in Suwon, and it will be interesting to see if their extraordinary efforts will bear fruit.