18 innings without a run & manager ejected → 4.5 games out of first place…uncharacteristic of a champion, 2 losses in a row.


The bats didn’t respond to the one-two punch, and the manager, unhappy with the umpire’s call, was ejected. Meanwhile, rival LG won six games in a row, extending their lead atop the standings to 4.5 games. SSG’s quest for a second consecutive overall title is in jeopardy.

SSG suffered its second consecutive defeat after losing 0-1 in the 11th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League season against KT at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on April 2. They are now 50-1, 37-2 on the season.

They didn’t score a single run until the seventh inning against KT ace William Cuevas. It wasn’t like they didn’t have chances. They had runners on base in all but two innings – the first and third with runners on first and second, the fourth with runners on second and first, the fifth with runners on first and second, the sixth with runners on second and first, and the seventh with runners on second and first – but were unable to capitalize.

“It’s a difficult question,” SSG manager Kim Won-hyung sighed when asked how to approach Cuevas before the game, “There aren’t many games these days where the starting pitcher goes down early. We will go with a strategy where Kim Kwang-hyun will hold on and try to win in the second half.”

SSG actually had a golden opportunity in the eighth inning after Cuevas went down. Against reliever Park Young-hyun, Choi Joo-hwan singled to left, Guillermo Heredia followed with a high four-pitch walk, and Park Sung-yi followed with a straight ball to load the bases, but Ha Jae-hoon struck out on three pitches to end the inning. In the first game of the day, Ha failed to capitalize on his first and second base opportunities in the seventh inning.

The leadoff batter in the ninth also failed to score. Against KT closer Kim Jae-yoon, Choi Joon-woo singled to right and Kim Sung-hyun had a sacrifice bunt to tie the game, but pinch-hitter Kang Jin-sung flied out to left and Choo Shin-soo flied out to center, ending the game with a 0-1 loss.

SSG, who gained momentum with a winning series against Hanwha at home last weekend, faced a strong KT lineup and saw their pace drop dramatically. After going 0-8 on Day 1, they fell to 0-1 on Day 2, failing to score in 18 consecutive innings. The first day’s eight-inning no-hitter by Ko Young-pyo and the next day’s seven-inning no-hitter by Cuevas were followed by two consecutive shutout losses.

The batting silence is all the more stinging because the starting pitchers did their jobs in both games. Day 1 starter Kirk McCarty gave up two runs in seven innings, and Day 2 starter Kwang-hyun Kim also suffered the loss despite pitching seven innings of one-run ball. While the losses of these two players are troubling, it’s also disappointing to see the team lose games with their top two starters.

In the second game, in addition to Binta, manager Kim Won-hyung was ejected from the game. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Kim ran onto the field after Kim Sang-soo’s checked swing was ruled a no-swing, and after making an unusually vocal protest to first base umpire Moon Seung-hoon, Kim received his first ejection of the season. Kim remained furious after the ejection, demanding to know why he was ejected.

A 6-10 record in July and August has put the team’s bid for a second consecutive title in jeopardy. SSG had maintained a 1.5-2.5-game lead in the standings after losing the top spot to LG on June 27 in Incheon, but LG’s recent six-game winning streak has increased the lead to 4.5 games. They are now four games behind third-place Doosan, which has won two in a row.메이저놀이터

The only saving grace is the slump in the batting order, which has a cycle, not the mound. The batting cycle is bound to come around at some point, and as long as the mound stays steady, they can always close the gap to first place. However, if this period is prolonged and they miss the golden opportunity to catch up, their dreams of going straight to the Korean Series will likely be dashed. It’s time for an unsung hero to step up, and hopefully it’s a batter.

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