After a strong start to the season, KIA faltered last week, going 1-3. Their one-game loss to LG was understandable given their strength. However, LG also had some disappointing results. A 1-2 loss in a three-game weekend series against top-five contender Lotte was more painful than LG’s one loss.
KIA was sixth last week with a team batting average of .268. The trades of Choi Won-jun, Na Sung-beom, Kim Do-young, and Kim Tae-gun have stabilized the batting order up and down the lineup. In fact, the team had some scary explosions before and after the All-Star break, making other teams nervous.
But hitting goes in cycles. Choi Won-jun and Kim Tae-gun’s pace has been unstable. Kim Sun-bin returned from a thumb injury, but was sidelined again with a hamstring injury just as he was starting to get his hitting going. Fortunately, the condition is not serious and he is expected to return soon.
In the starting lineup, Mario Sanchez and Tomas Pannoni have faltered recently. Yang Hyun-jong continues to struggle, and Lee Yi-ri and Yoon Young-chul are still too inexperienced to be in the front of the lineup. In the bullpen, Jeon Sang-hyun has come alive in the second half of the season, and Choi Ji-min has rebounded in August. Lim Ki-young has been the most consistent. However, Jung, Lee, and Jang still have their ups and downs.
As you can see, baseball is like a living organism, and it is difficult to play with the same power and strength throughout a long race. Relativity comes into play as well, with its own variables. Still, the consensus is that the objective strength is more than enough for a top-five fight. There is still a strong internal drive to go higher.
However, it is the defense that can minimize this instability. The defense is an area that is relatively within their control with their preparation and determination. In that regard, KIA’s defense last week was disappointing. They committed a whopping 10 errors in their four games last week.
Some of them were crucial to the flow of the game. Shortstop Park Chan-ho, third baseman Kim Do-young, and the corner outfielders are very focused. However, Choi Won-jun and Kim Kyu-sung in the right field infield and Socrates Brito in the outfield spoiled the team’s good momentum on several occasions.
KIA is second in fewest errors this season with 65. It’s true that the team doesn’t have an overwhelmingly good offense and defense at the same position. However, their overall defense is actually pretty solid. According to Baseball-Reference, the team has a 0.583 team WAA, which ranks fourth. Their infield fielding percentage of 90.18% is second in the league. Their outfield ground ball rate is 34.9%, the lowest in the league.
Still, there comes a point in the long run when you lose focus. For KIA, that was last week. No player wants to make a mistake. No player wants to make a mistake, especially when they’re fighting for a spot in the top five.
However, in this heat, errors add to the malaise index, and pitchers have to throw at least one more pitch to get an out. The extra time on defense can take a toll on your stamina and make you less focused at the plate. Whether it’s one or two players or a whole bunch of errors, it’s going to hurt your team. That said, it’s hard to add more defensive work at this time of year. This is the time of year when conditioning and rest are more important than absolute training.스포츠토토
The exhilaration of a good defensive play can make up for the pain of 10 errors last week. On the other hand, if you give up more runs on defense, you’re not going to have a good fall. Kia remains the biggest threat to fifth-place Doosan.