SSG finished the first half of the season with 46 wins, 1 loss, and 32 draws. They finished 2.5 games behind first-place LG (49 wins, 2 losses, and 30 draws). The starting lineup was shaky, but the bullpen kept them afloat. However, in the second half of the season, they slipped down the standings. The bullpen was overloaded, and it showed.
In the second half of the season, SSG went 16-1 in 39 games, with a winning percentage of 0.421. During that stretch, the team ERA was ninth at 5.19 and the team batting average was eighth at .264. With both of these stats in the bottom half of the standings, SSG (62 wins, 2 losses, 54 draws, 0.534 winning percentage) dropped to fourth place behind KIA (60 wins, 2 losses, 52 draws, 0.536 winning percentage).
SSG head coach Kim Won-hyung said before the game against Suwon KT on October 10, “The bats are coming alive a little bit and doing their job and scoring goals. Of course, it would be nice to score a little more runs,” he said, “but the pitchers are giving up a lot of runs. I’ve seen over the years how team ERAs have become like team standings. In August and September, our team ERA is at the bottom, and I think that’s why we keep dropping from second place.”안전놀이터
It’s a growing concern. The entire mound has been shaky in the second half. It’s encouraging that the bats are starting to come alive. The manager attributed the downward spiral to walks. As pitchers have been walking more, they’ve also been giving up more runs. In fact, SSG pitchers have allowed a total of 532 walks this season, the most of any club. That’s 50 more than the second-place Kiwoom (482), and considering Kiwoom has played 13 more games, the gap is likely to be even wider.
“It’s all about the walks,” Kim said, “The starters keep giving up a lot of walks and not getting many innings. You have to trust your pitches, but if you can’t get a count, whether it’s 145 or 150, it’s a problem. That’s why the bullpen is throwing too much.”
SSG starting pitcher McCarty pitches against KT in the 2023 KBO League at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on Tuesday.
The previous day against KT in Suwon, SSG’s foreign pitcher Kirk McCarty allowed five runs (five earned) on eight hits and five walks in five innings. That’s a lot of strikeouts compared to the opposing team’s starter, William Cuevas, who had one strikeout in six innings. However, SSG’s bullpen kept the game scoreless, and the offense, including shortstop Park Sung-ho’s game-winning two-run homer in the ninth inning, helped SSG pull off a thrilling 6-5 victory.
“We had a lot of strikeouts at the beginning of the season. It’s not that we didn’t have them, but we handled them well,” he said. “If there’s a runner on base, the next pitcher comes in and closes it out, and that’s how we won a lot of games,” he recalled.
“That’s always been a concern. I’m aware of it, and I tell my pitchers, ‘Don’t give up walks,’ but it doesn’t seem to be working,” he said. “I think it’s not working for us lately, but I’ve been believing in it, so I’m going to keep believing in it.”
He emphasized the importance of a win right now. He emphasized the importance of a win right now. The bullpen came through and the bats came alive, snapping the losing streak and picking up a valuable win. Now all that’s left is for the team to rebound with a winning attitude.