KIA hit a season low with a 1-3 loss to LG in Jamsil on July 2. They dropped to ninth place with a record of 30-38-1 (.441). At that point, it looked like the team would never get back to the 5-win mark. The season was in jeopardy.
But the potential was there. Injured players began to return one by one, and the addition of foreign pitchers helped create a rebound. KIA went on a six-game winning streak from July 5 to July 12, approaching a 5 percent winning percentage. After a five-game losing streak, the team won three straight games from August 3-5 to finally move up to a five-game winning percentage (44 wins, 43 losses, and 1 draw). The team is still in sixth place, but it can be said to have taken a breather.
As of the 8th, KIA has played a total of 89 games, which is the lowest number of games among the 10 teams in the KBO. In other words, they have the most games left to play. While the team’s return to winning percentages has given them some breathing room and a chance to reorganize, there’s no room to breathe. They need to make up for the wins they lost earlier in the season. This is especially true this season, when a fierce top-five battle is expected.
Kia head coach Kim Jong-guk agrees that there is no time to lose. “The standings are not that important right now. “I think it’s more important to see how steadily we can build up the number of wins,” he said. “I think it’s going to come down to the Asian Games in September. The number of wins is more important than the current ranking, and we should win while we can,” Kim emphasized. KIA will be sending Lee Ji-min and Choi Won-jun to the Asian Games. Kim’s basic plan is to win as many games as possible before then.
As a result, the team will continue to fight hard for the time being. However, an all-out war doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to win, and you need to strategize well. There are a few conditions Stabilization of the starting lineup and proper rest for the bullpen and fielders. You need to be able to balance your wins and losses in a way that gives you the strength to keep going until the end of the season.
The importance of the starting lineup cannot be overemphasized. Currently in sixth place, KIA needs to extend their winning streak as long as possible and minimize their losing streak to overtake the teams ahead of them. The most important thing here is the starting lineup. Right now, it’s a bit of a toss-up. The team is fortunate to have a solid foreign ace in Thomas Pannoni, but Mario Sanchez and Yang Hyun-jong have been underperforming, which is one reason why they can’t easily go on a winning streak.
Lee Yi-ri has to go to the Asian Games, and Yoon Young-chul, a high school rookie, should always be viewed conservatively. Sanchez and Yang Hyun-jong have a lot on their shoulders. On the other hand, they also need to create alternate resources that can be utilized in a tight schedule. The bullpen is more or less set, but Kim has also revealed that he has a “Plan C” in case Lee is unavailable.
The bullpen also needs to be properly rested. KIA still relies heavily on its starters. The batting order also tends to be fairly fixed. While this means that the existing mainstays are doing their job, it also means that there is a chance that fitness issues could come up late in the season.
Kim is trying to figure out how to best utilize the backups and keep the batting lineup as explosive as possible. “The outfielders have a lot of experience. Go Jong-wook, Lee Woo-sung, Lee Chang-jin, and Kim Ho-ryung have a lot of full-time experience in the first team. I plan to utilize them in various rotations.” “In the infield, Kim Kyu-sung will have to fill in when (the main players) are resting,” he said of another key player.안전놀이터
For now, Kim will be sidelined for 10 days to two weeks due to a micro-damage to his hamstring. Despite the slight setback, Kim still managed to hit .299 in 71 games this year. In his last 10 games, he’s batting .342. How the team fills this void will likely be closely tied to the offense of the bottom of the order. It will be interesting to see if the KIA bench can solve this difficult equation.