Hanwha’s best record rises, and its favorite to win the championship falls

The 2024 professional baseball season is set to unfold with the opening of the season. The Hanwha Eagles, who was rated as ranking about fifth despite their good performance, surged to the top of the league with the strongest momentum to win seven consecutive games after losing the opening game. The KT Wiz, who was considered a favorite to win the title and advance to the third round, plunged. The KIA Tigers ranked second through bullpen baseball, which did not deviate from expectations. The NC Dinos, whose 20-win pitcher Eric Peddy left, rather ranked third by banking on its starting pitcher baseball. Opening the lid of the season’s opening is a game that is different from what they expected. This is why the team is drawing more interest from professional baseball fans.

Hanwha is exerting strong energy through pitching and hitting. His depth has strengthened to the point that Ryu Hyun-jin, Felix Peña, Riccardo Sanchez, Moon Dong-ju and Kim Min-woo and rookie Hwang Joon-seo have replaced six starters. He is solid enough to rank second with 2.57 ERA among starting pitchers. His bullpen has also strengthened, as Han Seung-hyuk contributed by pitching 0.00 ERA in five games. The batting lineup is remarkably effective as Jonathan Peraza, who hit four home runs. Even Noh Si-hwan, who hit three home runs, and Chae Eun-seong, who hit a .300 batting average, are leading the lineup for the Big Bang. Leadoff Moon Hyun-bin is showing stellar performance while Ahn Chi-hong, a free agent transfer, is also supporting his team by banking on his robust batting performance.

Kia has hit the mound as No. 1 in its team ERA. In the course of its five wins and one loss, its must-win teams displayed remarkable performance. When starting pitchers take the lead up to the fifth inning, Kwak Do-gyu, Lim Ki-young, Choi Ji-min, Jeon Sang-hyeon, and closer Jung Hae-young appear to block the opponent team’s batting line-up. Kim Do-young and Kim Sun-bin are in a slump in batting, but they are scoring goals with cohesive capacity that creates big innings thanks to their unique mobility. However, the unstable factor is that Will Crow, the first starter, showed weakness in stamina, as he was shaken up at around 70 pitches.

NC Dinosaurs had five wins and two losses by banking on strong starting pitchers. His ERA is mere 2.03 (first place). He has strong one-two punch: ace Kyle Hart (two runs allowed in seven innings in one game) and Daniel Castado (two runs allowed in 12 ⅔ in two games). Shin Min-hyuk also played 11 innings in two games, allowing two runs, and Kim Si-hoon did his part by allowing five scoreless innings in one game. His batting lineup also showed off strong teamwork. Foreign hitter Matt Davidson showed off his clutch capability, and Park Geon-woo and Seo Ho-cheol also showed off their batting average of 300.

The SSG had five wins and three losses, achieving the desired results. It held its opening two consecutive games against Lotte, but was caught by Hanwha in all three games. However, it went down to Daegu and swept all three games against Samsung. Its unique home run guns (10) demonstrated its power. Park Jong-hoon, who pitched six scoreless innings in one game, showed off his comeback, and closing pitcher Moon Seung-won had ups and downs.

Defending champion LG had four wins and three losses. Detrick Ness contributed to the ace’s performance by pitching quality start in two consecutive games, and Kelly also pitched smoothly in two games. Sun also contributed by pitching six scoreless innings in one game. The bullpen also performed smoothly as it ranked second in ERA (3.81). It did not give the impression that it completely filled the gap between Ko Woo-suk, Lee Jung-yong and Jung Woo-young. The batters showed remarkable strength as the first in team batting average (.303) and mobility as the first in stolen bases (15). At the match against Kiwoom over the weekend, the batters’ concentration declined, contributing to the losing streak.

Doosan had strong foreign punch from Raul Alcantara and Brandon Waddell, while Kwak Bin, the third starter, also displayed stronger pitching. However, fourth starter Choi Won-joon and fifth starter Kim Dong-ju were sluggish. Another cause for concern is that the bullpen has yet to show thick performance at a stage from starting pitcher to finishing. The batters are predicting an active resurgence. Kim Jae-hwan, who performed poorly, predicted a resurgence with strong batting, while Kang Seung-ho also showed off his slugging power to strengthen the team. Even Jung Soo-bin and Heo Kyung-min, who hit sophisticatedly, are considered top-rated in the league.

The bottom four teams got off to a rough start. Kiwoom lost four consecutive games, revealing the weakness of the batting line without Lee Jung-hoo. It is showing its strength by winning two consecutive games against LG last weekend. Rookie pitchers Son Hyun-ki and Jeon Joon-pyo, who entered the opening entry, showed their financial strength. Samsung also seemed to change with its opening consecutive wins, but lost five consecutive games. The reason was the lowest in the team ERA (6.10). There were ups and downs of foreign one-two punch, including first starters Connor Seabold and Denny Reyes. It was a harvest that men’s Lim Chang-min and Kim Jae-yoon showed solid performances in the seventh and eighth rounds.

The KT Wizs sluggish performance is surprising. Despite having solid starting pitchers and Kim Jae-yoons transfer to free agents, expectations are high that Son Dong-hyun and Park Young-hyun`s young guns will hold firm. However, Wes Benjamin, who trusted him, and Ko Young-pyo, a submarine-launched pitcher, were sluggish, and Um Sang-baek failed to provide much help. As both Park and Son collapsed, the mound was in a crisis situation overall.

It is also surprising to see Lotte’s sluggish performance led by its great manager Kim Tae-hyung. The problem lies in the batting average of the lowest in the team’s batting average (.252). He is also the lowest in scoring with 194. The lack of a troubleshooter is a critical weakness in the lineup. The central lineup is also losing destructive power. In addition, the starters and bullpen also failed to show strong competitiveness, falling into a slump of one win and six losses. When the team lost four consecutive games, Kim had a sweet drink and smiled bitterly, saying, “Everything is bitter.”

BY: 토토

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