LG comfortably tops the regular season run differential. They are +2 wins from last year despite a rash of injuries and the collapse of their homegrown starting mound.
LG won big against SSG in Incheon on the 27th, 14-0. The 1-2 Big Bang exploded for 18 hits, including three home runs, in the lopsided victory.
Starting pitcher Lim Chan-kyu earned his sixth win of the season with six innings of one-hit ball, four walks and three strikeouts. Captain Oh Ji-hwan put his troubles behind him with his first home run of the season in the team’s 72nd game. Infield utility Kim Min-sung followed with a back-to-back home run.
With the win, LG improved to 44 wins, 2 ties and 26 losses in 72 games (.629 winning percentage). They moved into first place by half a game over SSG.
Let’s take a look back at LG’s 72-game run last year. On June 26 last year, they had a record of 42 wins, 1 draw, and 29 losses in 72 games (a .592 winning percentage). They were in third place. At the time, SSG was in first place with a 46-3-3 record (.657 winning percentage) and Kiwoom was in second place with a 44-1-28 record (.611 winning percentage). LG was 4.5 games out of first place and 1.5 games out of second.
This year, with the change of head coach Yeom Kyung-yeop, the team has performed better than last year, reaching the 72-game return point. LG has been in contention for the top spot since the start of the season while not being at full strength.
LG hasn’t been out of the top three since the opening five games. Since May 19, they’ve been battling with SSG for the lead, swapping places between 1-2.
Closer Go Woo-seok went to the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March and returned home with a shoulder injury, and after playing for just over two weeks in mid-April, he was sidelined for over a month with a back injury. After returning in early June, he has yet to play a full game and is being managed.
Last year’s holdover, Jung Woo-young, has been up and down, with an ERA in the 4s (4.70). Lee Jung-yong, the closer, has five blown saves in the early part of the season and is trying to make the transition to the starting rotation.
The absence of the top three pitchers is being made up for by Ham Deok-ju, Park Myung-geun, Yoo Young-chan, and Baek Seung-hyun, who Yeom prepared as a new pitching staff in last year’s final camp and this year’s spring training.
Lee Min-ho, who won 12 games last year, and Kim Yun-sik, who won eight games last year, are currently in the second team. Im Chan-kyu, who became the winning pitcher against SSG on the 27th, is doing better than expected as the third starter, but the fourth and fifth starters are Mu Ju-gong-san.
Despite the departure of free agents Chae Eun-seong and Yoo Kang-nam, the team’s batting lineup is better than last year. Foreign hitter Austin has successfully adapted to the league, and free agent catcher Park Dong-won is filling the void left by Yoo Kang-nam in the offense. Tablesetters Hong Chang-ki and Moon Sung-joo are hitting with more precision than last year, and veteran Kim Min-sung is doing a great job at second base.
Yeom isn’t too concerned about the standings right now. Instead, 안전놀이터 the team is focused on accumulating as many wins as possible. “The real battle is in August. “The real battle will be in August. It’s still okay to have injuries now. After August, injuries are a big deal,” he said, adding that he is paying attention to player management.
For now, the 72 games have gone well despite the adverse conditions. 5% to +18