After combining for eight hits against the Lotte Giants, Shin-soo Choo and Ji-hoon Choi are poised to revive the SSG Landers offense after a recent slump.
Choo Shin-soo went 5-for-6 with a home run, four runs scored, and one RBI to lead SSG to a 9-6 victory over Lotte on Friday at Sajik Stadium in Busan. It was the first time Shin-soo Choo has recorded five hits in a game since making his KBO debut in the 2021 season. SSG clinched the sweep against Lotte and moved to within three and a half games of the league-leading LG Twins.
It only took one at-bat to confirm Shin-Soo Choo’s hot hitting. In the top of the first inning, Shin-soo took the first pitch he saw from Lotte starter Han Hyun-hee and smashed a two-run double directly to center field. In the fifth inning, Shin-soo took advantage of a defensive shift and laid down an exquisite bunt that sent the ball to third base, knocking out the opposing closer in the process. With runners on first and second in the top of the 10th inning with the score tied 6-6, he caught a low forked ball from Kim Won-joong and dropped it in front of the left fielder, allowing the runner from second to come home and win the game.
In the first half, Shin-Soo Choo struggled. He slumped to a .202 batting average in the April-May period, and in late May, he injured his ankle and was removed from the first team roster. Upon his return, Choo slowly warmed up his bat, hitting .333 in 11 games in June and .288 in 14 games last month, and he’s now on a five-for-five streak this month.
Choi Ji-hoon, the No. 2 hitter who formed the table-setting duo with Choo Shin-soo, also broke out of his slump, going 3-for-5 with a home run, two RBIs and a run scored on the day. Last season, Choi made the final roster for the Hangzhou Asian Games after batting .304 (13th) and ranking among the league’s top five in hits (173), third in runs scored (93), and third in stolen bases (31), but his bat has cooled off this year, hitting .259 (39th) in 79 games and ranking 29th in hits (84), 18th in runs scored (46), and 12th in stolen bases (11).
If SSG is to break out of its batting slump, it will need a big performance from its table-setters. In the second half of the season, SSG is ninth in the league in runs scored (49), 10th in RBI (43), and sixth in batting average (.336). In the three-game midweek series against the KT WIZ that began on April 1, the team scored just one run and lost all three games.메이저놀이터
In a postgame interview the previous day, Shin-soo Choo said, “My hitting has been off since the beginning of the season. It was hard because I wasn’t performing at the level I wanted, but now I have to do well and it’s time to do well,” he said. “The battle for the top spot is fierce, so I will do my best to help the team every game.”