Na Sung-bum, Choi Hyung-woo, and solver vacancies…’Chapo’ without KIA, top 5 falls further and further away 

The Kia Tigers lost their final game of the season against Incheon. It was a two-game series, and they lost both.

Looks like they’re slipping out of the top 5 fight. They lost 2.5 games with a chance to cut it to half a game. Two games with too many holes to fill.

KIA lost the 15th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against SSG Landers 5-6 at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on April 1. They scored first and fell behind. The team then tied the game and forced extra innings, but there was no decisive hit.

For the second day in a row, they went down in 10 extra innings. Before the final game against Incheon, coach Kim Jong-guk praised the defense of Park Chan-ho and Kim Do-young, saying, “They need to be game makers. If they do that, we can go for multiple goals.”

The two players had no problem. In the first inning, Park Chan-ho drew a walk and Kim Do-young singled to right. Kim Sun-bin laid down a sacrifice bunt and Socrates, the No. 4 hitter, followed with an RBI double.

However, KIA lacked a solution. Socrates alone proved to be not enough to win the best-of-five competition. Na Seong-beom and Choi Hyung-woo will be missed.

In the water and beverage refrigerator in the away dugout, one jersey each of Na Sung-beom and Choi Hyung-woo hangs. Without Na, who is out for the season with a right hamstring injury, and Choi, who is rehabbing from a broken collarbone, the KIA batting lineup is significantly weighed down.

After scoring two runs in the first inning, they had leadoff hitters in the second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but only scored in the sixth. After the first batter of the sixth inning, Socrates, reached on an error by the opposing pitcher, Go Jong-wook struck out swinging, and Lee Woo-sung hit a single to right.캡틴토토

In the ninth inning, SSG closer Seo Jin-yong was completely shaken up – a double, a single, a stolen base, a walk, and a wild pitch – but failed to turn the game around. It just wasn’t enough.

Earlier, in the 14th game of the season against SSG, on the 30th of last month, the team lost 3-4 after 10 extra innings. The absence of Na Sung-beom and Choi Hyung-woo was evident. Na was batting 3-for-6 with 18 home runs and 57 RBIs before his injury, while Choi was batting 3-for-2 with 17 home runs and 81 RBIs. That’s a big hole to fill for the top three hitters, who account for about 35% of the team’s home runs. Through Day 1, the team has 98 home runs.

Socrates and Lee Woo-sung took the lead in the second inning and Lee Chang-jin hit a solo home run in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough firepower to take down the SSG mound. There was no cohesion, no clutch hitting.

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