Challenged to escape fourth straight defeat against Na Kyun-ahn, commander’s strategy is to “score a lot of points”

Mired in a four-game losing streak, the Kiwoom Heroes look to turn things around on the final day of their three-game weekend series. The key will be whether the batting line-up can hit the regular season’s April MVP.

Kiwoom will take on the Lotte Giants of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League on the 28th at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul for game five of the season. Kim Jun-wan (designated hitter), Kim Hye-sung (second baseman), Lee Jeong-hoo (centre fielder), Russell (shortstop), Lim Byung-wook (left fielder), Lee Won-seok (first baseman), Lee Ji-young (catcher), Kim Hwi-jip (third baseman), and Lee Hyung-jong (right fielder) comprise the lineup. The starting pitcher will be right-hander Chung Chan-heon.안전놀이터

Kiwoom dropped a 5-6 decision to Lotte the day before. Starter Choi Won-tae pitched six scoreless innings, but the bullpen gave up six runs in the top of the seventh. The bats were held scoreless until the eighth inning, and the momentum was completely in Lotte’s favour.

However, in the bottom of the ninth inning, the frustrating batting paved the way to escape the collective slump to some extent. After going winless in two consecutive games on the 26th and 27th, they almost suffered a ‘disaster’ of not scoring a single run in three consecutive games, but they broke their silence in the last minute.

With the bases loaded, Kim Dong-heon, the youngest member of the team, hit a double, followed by Lim Ji-yeol’s push single and Lim Byung-wook’s RBI single to narrow the gap to 5-6 in no time. While the team was disappointed to see their leadoff hitter Lee Jung-hoo walked in the ensuing two-out rally, they were encouraged by the way they harassed the Lotte bullpen to get closer Kim Won-joong out.

“I hope that the hitters’ late runs the day before will continue to flow, not just in one game,” said Kiwoom manager Hong Won-ki. “I think the youngest, Kim Dong-heon, got a hit, which encouraged his older brothers. I hope this will be a turning point,” he said.

“The current batting slump is a collective problem, not just one person, and I hope it’s more evenly distributed,” he said. “We’re not a team that scores runs with home runs or long balls, so it’s important for us to get into scoring position somehow. I think it’s going to get better and I’m staying positive.”

As for how to approach Lotte starter Na Gyun-ahn, he joked that “we need to score a lot of runs,” and then added, “In the batting order today, we were most concerned about how to connect with the next batter. Recently, our number two hitter has been changing, and today it’s Kim Hye-sung.”

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