Something to Cheer About
The bad news is that the Giants are still stuck in seventh place. The good news is that they’re only two spots out of playoff contention. Considering that they’ve been flirting with last, two games out of a playoff spot is not so bad a spot to be in at the second week of May. Still a whole lotta baseball to be played.
Starter Song Seung-joon simply shut the Lions down while collecting his second win of the season. Song only made one mistake on a solo homer to Samsung left fielder Choi Hyeong-woo. Song threw 6 2/3 innings of one-run baseball. Song allowed only five hits and two walks while striking out seven.
The Lotte offense rallied for four runs in the fourth inning and rode Song’s strong effort to victory. DH Hong Seong-heun lead the Giants' offense by going 3-4 with a double, one RBI and one run scored.
It was more of the same in the second game of the series as Lotte won with a 6-4 victory, with pitcher Goh Won-joon making his first start of the 2011 season. Goh had been used primarily as a closer, but with the struggles of the Lotte rotation, Goh was pressed into action.
Goh threw the ball pretty well for a guy that hadn't started since last year. Goh stuck around for five innings and gave up three runs, allowed five hits and two walks, while striking out six.
The offense gave Goh some help by knocking Samsung starter Yoon Seong-hwan out of the game in the middle of the fifth inning. The Giants tagged Yoon for five runs before Samsung chose to yank him.
Third baseman Hwang Jae-gyun lead the way. Hwang went 3-4 with a double, two RBIs and one run scored including a two-run single in the fourth inning. Center fielder Jeon Jun-woo chipped in with a 2-4, one walk, one double, two RBI, one run scored effort.
The Giants got into a bit of trouble in the sixth inning when reliever Heo Joon-hyeok was brought in to relieve Goh. Heo walked a batter and was pulled immediately. Reliever Lim Kyeong-wan came in and gave up a run that was charged to Heo. After that, the bullpen locked the game down. Former starter Bryan Corey threw 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief and Kim Sa-yul recorded a clean save.
Lotte dropped the third game 7-0 in a game that saw Ryan Sadowski make his second start of the season. Sadowski looked much better this time around. Sadowski threw six innings and only allowed one run. Sadowski gave up two hits and one walk while striking out two. He managed an 8:7 GB:FB ratio.
Sadowski left the game down 1-0, but the Lotte bullpen turned the game into a laffer by allowing Samsung to rally for six runs in the ninth inning.
The Giants continued their run of success by traveling to Seoul and taking two out of three from the Doosan Bears over the weekend.
Giants' catcher, Kang Min-ho making a play at the plate against the Doosan Bears.
Some really poor fielding let Doosan make this game a lot closer than it should have been. There was one play that saw not one, but two misplayed throws that lead to two unearned runs. Lotte starter Jang Won-joon was lifted after the fifth inning. He allowed six runs, but only two were earned.
The plan has changed for pitcher Bryan Corey since he was removed from the rotation. The plan appears to be to run Corey into the ground. Corey threw four of the previous five days including four innings of scoreless relief in this game. Corey allowed only two hits and struck out one while recording a four inning save.
Game two was slightly more exciting, but not for baseball reasons. Non-Korean pitcher Fernando Nieve made his KBO debut. He failed to impress on several fronts. After giving up a three-run bomb to right fielder Son Ah-seop, Nieve felt the need to put a ball in Lee Dae-ho’s back. Lee didn’t take kindly to Nieve taking out his frustrations. Lee gestured towards the mound and both benches cleared. No punches were thrown, but Nieve was quickly removed from the game.
The Lotte bullpen let the Bears back into the game(I’m looking at YOU, Kim Sa-yul) and the Giants found themselves trailing 7-6 in the ninth inning. Lee got some measure of revenge by hitting a two-run homer that put the Giants on top, 8-7. Bryan Corey threw a scoreless inning of relief. I’m not 100% sure, but I think that after the last pitch Corey’s arm actually detached itself from his body in protest.
Lotte dropped the final game of the series, 5-0. Doosan starter/former major leaguer Kim Sun-woo threw a complete game shutout and Lotte starter Song Seung-joon was battered for five runs in five innings. Thankfully, Bryan Corey was given a day off.
The Giants get to spend an entire week sleeping in their own beds. They start the week at home against the Nexen Heroes and finish the week at home against the KIA Tigers over the weekend. Nexen and KIA are currently tied for fifth place in the KBO standings and are directly ahead of the Giants. This is a great week for the Giants to get out of seventh and into the mix for the playoffs.
You can read Matthew's blog, True Stories of Korean Baseball, where he follows the entire KBO each week.
Lead photo by 黒忍者
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