Lotte is on a roll.
On the 26th, they won 2-0 against Gocheok Kiwoom thanks to their pitchers.
They are in third place with a record of 25-15 and a winning percentage of 0.625. There are only two games separating them from first place LG. The momentum from April hasn’t slowed down in May, and they’re cruising.
It’s not without its problems. The batting lineup hasn’t been hitting well. It’s not a complete batting lineup, but it’s unavoidable that it’s weak.
The weakness is especially evident against lefties. The team is 1-8 against left-handed pitchers.
“We have a weakness against lefties,” Sutton admits. There’s no denying it.
Lotte’s .218 batting average against lefties is a far cry from their .276 average against righties.
But the team isn’t too worried about it. They’re confident that it’s just a temporary blip and that they can hit lefties at any time.
Even if they don’t get a lot of hits, they have a firm belief that they can win games with their team batting.
Park Heung-sik, Lotte’s head hitting coach, said, “I think the weakness against lefties is a temporary phenomenon. Our right-handed hitters, such as Han Dong-hee and Jeon Jun-woo, were a bit off pace, so I think it was highlighted a bit more. But I’m not too worried about it. They will eventually find their groove. Hitters with average will find their groove at some point. I think our batsmen have gained a lot of experience, so it won’t take long for them to get there.”
The fact that the team is trying different ways to beat their opponents, even if they don’t get a lot of hits, is also helping them overcome their left-handed pitching phobia.
“You can’t just keep getting hits and scoring runs every time. Even if you don’t get a lot of hits, you can still score runs through team batting or base running. Our hitters have been getting better at this lately. They’re more willing to sacrifice themselves for the team, and they have the power to shake up the game with active baserunning and maneuvers. That’s why we’ve been struggling against lefties, but we’re not too worried about it.”
However, there is still a mountain to climb. While the other lefties are confident that they can be tackled at any time, there is only one left-hander that they have to admit is a weakness.
It was SSG ace Kim Kwang-hyun. Kim is currently on an 11-game winning streak against Lotte.
“Kwang-hyun has always been very strong against Lotte,” Park said. All the hitters say it’s hard to hit his pitches. Once we got used to it, he became a different pitcher. He’s a pitcher who used to pitch with power, with a fastball, so when I got used to him a little bit, he became a different pitcher. Now he’s a pitcher who is completely based on his changeup. He’s got that changeup, and it’s really confusing our hitters. I don’t say that about other lefties, but Kwang-hyun is different. “They say you can’t hit his ball no matter how hard you try,” he said. “But we can’t let that happen forever. We have to find an answer as soon as possible. I’m trying really hard to figure out how to hit him. Maybe one day I’ll be able to hit his ball.”먹튀검증
This is where you can feel the power of Kim Kwang-hyun. Lotte admits that she’s not afraid of other lefties, but she can’t touch Kim Kwang-hyun.
Can Lotte find a way to take down Kim Kwang-hyun in addition to their left-handed pitching strategy? It’s a crucial point in Lotte’s race for the top spot.