The Lotte Giants are firmly entrenched in the three-power system. Above all, Lotte is not squeezing out power at the moment. They are steadfastly holding on amidst the hype of the existing power. More importantly, given the power that will be returning after June, it’s likely that the real battle will begin for Lotte after June.
Lotte is currently in a three-way battle for first place with SSG and LG. They are in third place, one game behind first-place LG. They are 0.5 games behind SSG in second place. They have five games in hand on fourth-place Doosan. The fact that Lotte hasn’t lost any momentum since moving into sole possession of first place on the last day of April and is still in the top three is a testament to the team’s solidity.스포츠토토
The two-hit harmony is exquisite, and above all, they play defensive baseball. Their defence is unspectacular but solid, leading the league in errors (19). After struggling throughout April, the starting lineup has stabilised in May. The bullpen was overburdened in April, but the starters have come alive and taken the load off. In many ways, they are the epitome of a family. After ranking ninth in April (4.75), the team’s ERA is now in the triple digits (3.95). It currently ranks seventh.
The batting order doesn’t have a triple threat hitter, but everyone has stepped up to the plate in big innings and late-game situations when the team needs to score. The team is 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and has a .820 slugging percentage, both of which rank second in the league.
What’s even more positive is that they’re doing this with a pitching staff that’s still not fully healthy. They’ve lost slugger Hwang Sung-bin to ankle ligament damage and foreign fixer Jack Rex to a knee tendon injury. Even in the starting line-up, Lee In-bok, a nine-win starter last year, had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow just before spring training.
They will now all return in June. Hwang Sung-bin has been playing regularly in the Futures League to improve his physical condition and game sense. He is expected to return within the next week. Rex is also likely to play in a second team rehabilitation game sooner rather than later. He will return to the first team later than Hwang, but Rex’s time to make his presence felt is coming.
The good news is that Lee In-bok will be back on the mound. With the addition of foreign pitchers like Dan Streeley and Charlie Barnes, as well as the return of spectacles ace Park Se-woong, the starting rotation has stabilised. Na Kyun-ahn is still the ace, and Han Hyun-hee has his ups and downs, but he can take over a game.
Adding Lee In-bok to the mix gives the team some flexibility. While the five starters are solidly in place, the more options they have, the better. You could move the versatile Han Hyun-hee to the bullpen. Alternatively, Lee In-bok could step into the long-relief role to bolster the bullpen.
Lee In-bok made a start against Samsung in the Futures League at Gyeongsan Ballpark on the 27th and threw two innings of one-hit ball with 13 pitches. He didn’t need to throw a lot of pitches, using his two-pitch arsenal to get hitters out with ease. He threw seven pitches, one curve, two sliders, and three changeups.
According to the club’s Trackman data, his fastball topped out at 142.4 mph and averaged 141 mph before his return. According to Sport2eye’s Pitch Tracking System (PTS), Lee’s average two-seam fastball last year was 140.4 kilometres. Despite the difference in measurement, we can say that he has regained his normal velocity. Of course, he needs to work on his game, but he confirmed that his body is in good shape.
Lotte has also been holding on and is fighting for the top spot by producing the best results. They are waiting for the right momentum to consolidate the current ‘Lotte Triumvirate’ and go even higher. For Lotte, June is the time for the real fight.