Reporter Oh Sang-jin= The nickname ‘Legion of Giants’ doesn’t quite fit. The Lotte Giants, who seem to shrink in front of KT Wiz, were finally brought to their knees in their final meeting of the season.
Lotte was swept 0-5 by KT at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on April 21. With the fifth-ranked SSG Landers and sixth-ranked KIA Tigers losing on the same day, Lotte was desperate for a win to keep its hopes alive for a last-minute ticket to the fall baseball season, but it couldn’t close the gap again.
Starting pitcher Na Gyun-ahn, who hadn’t won in over three months since his June 9 start against the Samsung Lions, attempted to pick up his seventh win of the season in his final outing before joining the Asian Games squad. However, Na received no help from the defense, allowing five runs (two earned) on six hits in five innings to take his seventh loss of the season. The offense managed eight hits and three walks in 11 plate appearances, but failed to score a single run. Lee Jung-hoon went 3-for-4 at the plate, but his performance was overshadowed by the team’s scoreless loss.
The loss brings Lotte’s overall record against KT to 3-13 this season. The only winning series against KT came on April 9 (5-3), the last game of the first three-game series of the season, and May 13 (5-0) and 14 (8-3), when KT was in last place.
Lotte then suffered a humiliating 10-game losing streak against KT. Two series sweeps in June alone were particularly painful. After holding the top spot alongside the LG Twins and SSG in early June, Lotte slipped to the middle of the pack after being swept by KT, and it’s been downhill from there.
Lotte, which currently has 58 wins and 66 losses (0.468 winning percentage), could have gotten to 63 wins and 61 losses (0.508 winning percentage) if it had gone 8 for 8 against KT and won 5 for 5. If Lotte was performing at this level, they could have fought for fifth place with SSG (63 wins, 60 losses, 2 draws, 0.512 win percentage) and KIA (60 wins, 59 losses, 2 draws, 0.504 win percentage) all the way to the end.
Lotte’s “phobic” head-to-head record against certain teams was similar last year. In the 2022 season, Lotte suffered from tiger phobia, going 4-12 against KIA. Last year, KIA punched their ticket to the fall baseball season in fifth place with 70 wins, 73 losses, and one draw for a 0.490 winning percentage, while Lotte finished eighth with 64 wins, 76 losses, and four draws for a 0.457 winning percentage. If they had balanced their head-to-head record by 5%, Lotte could have taken the fifth spot instead of KIA.토토사이트
Even in 2018, when they finished seventh, just one game behind fifth-place KIA, Lotte suffered from “bear phobia” (3-13 against the Doosan Bears). In 2016, when they were in eighth place, 4.5 games behind fifth-place KIA, the humiliation of a 1-15 loss in the Nakdong River Derby against the NC Dinos was a setback. This year, Lotte, which has been stymied by a series deficit against certain teams at every juncture, is also suffering from “wizard phobia” and is distancing itself from fall baseball.