The fallout from losing a starting shortstop is too much. The KIA Tigers.
KIA lost a 3-8 home game against the Doosan Bears on July 17 at Kia Champions Field in Gwangju. Starting pitcher Thomas Pannoni gave up five runs, and the offense was lethargic, scoring only one run on a hit-by-pitch. KIA has lost four straight games dating back to April 12 against the Samsung Lions in Daegu. With 56 losses (2 ties, 60 wins) on the season, they are one game behind Doosan.
The problem is that the offense is sinking and the bullpen is suffering from overload. After a nine-game winning streak against the KT Wiz on Aug. 24, KIA moved up to third place, but the batting cycle is on a downward spiral again, and the pitching staff, which was strong during the losing streak, is suddenly struggling.
The loss of shortstop and leadoff hitter Park Chan-ho to injury is also significant. Park tore a ligament in his left fourth finger while running the bases against Samsung Electronics in Daegu on April 12 and hasn’t played in the team’s three games since.
The void was evident in the game on Sunday, when Doosan snapped a six-game winning streak and lost its fourth straight. First, the defense. KIA filled Park Chan-ho’s void with Kim Do-young, who had been playing third base, moving to shortstop, his primary position in high school, and Byun Woo-hyuk, an “offensive infielder,” at third base.
Byun Woo-hyuk made an error in the top of the third inning when he failed to catch Kim Jae-ho’s hard-hit grounder to first base. His defense was a little disappointing, as he had earlier allowed a bunt single to Cho Su-hyun. A split-second outfield defense. If a more agile player had been in left field, the outcome could have been different. KIA gave up a run on a single by Yang Seok-hwan to make it 2-1 and give them a one-run lead.
Kim Do-young, batting first in place of Park Chan-ho, also felt the pressure. He went hitless in five at-bats against Doosan on July 17. In the bottom of the second inning, when KIA was down 0-1, he had a chance to tie the game with a Han Joon-soo single, but he struck out in the ensuing at-bat. In the ninth, with runners on first and second, he was stranded on a groundout to reliever Hong Gun-hee.
Kim also went 0-for-3 and 0-for-5 against the Gwangju Lotte Giants on March 13 and Doosan on March 15, respectively. In the top of the sixth inning against Doosan on the 17th, he made a throwing error in a familiar spot on defense. The pressure may have played a role.먹튀검증
In 115 games this season, Park has been the offensive spearhead, batting .302 with a .358 on-base percentage. He was the No. 1 candidate for the Golden Glove at shortstop.
The loss of such a player has left KIA without a full complement of players again, and the team has lost four straight games with a shaky mound.
Coach Kim Jong-guk believes it’s only right that Park Chan-ho is fully recovered and ready to go. Despite the four-game losing streak, the team is not far behind in the race for fifth place as fellow contender SSG Landers is also struggling.
KIA will play on the 18th after being rained out on the 16th. It is the last game of a three-game series against Doosan and the final game of the season (Game 16). A victory in the head-to-head matchup would cut the gap to one game at a time. It will be interesting to see whether Park Chan-ho will play or not, and whether the team will be able to compensate for his absence.