The Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) have won six straight games, thanks in large part to a pitching staff that hasn’t allowed a run. If the bullpen overload can be resolved, a mid-table finish is possible.
Hanwha extended its winning streak to six games with a thrilling 6-4 come-from-behind victory over the KT WIZ at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon on April 28. Hanwha’s six-game winning streak was 1371 days since September 26, 2019.메이저놀이터
The game was a testament to Hanwha’s bullpen. After starter Han Seung-hyuk was roughed up for four runs on five hits in the top of the first inning, Choi Won-ho called upon his closer. Trailing 1-4 in the top of the fourth inning, Joo Hyun-seong, who had runners on first and second, shut down the KT center field until the fifth inning, and Lee Tae-yang, Kim Bum-soo, and Kang Jae-min each pitched a scoreless inning in the sixth. They gave up just one hit. Park Sang-won, the “endgame king,” followed with a triple play to preserve the win. Noh Si-hwan rewarded Pilseung-jo’s efforts with a grand slam in the seventh inning, capping off the team’s sixth straight win.
Relievers have been at the center of the winning streak, which began on April 21 against KIA. In six games, the Hanwha bullpen has a 1.31 ERA, the best in the league. Led by closer Park Sang-won, who has three saves and two scoreless innings in four games, Joo Hyun-sang (one hold) and Kang Jae-min (four holds) have also shut down opposing batters with one hitless inning in four games. Left-hander Kim Bum-soo also didn’t face a hit in two innings of one-hit ball.
The secret is mercenary. Choi has been focusing on the division of labor in the bullpen since taking over on March 12 and has assembled a strong lineup of Joo Hyun-sang, Kim Bum-soo, Kang Jae-min, and Park Sang-won. “As Choi clearly assigns roles to the players, the bullpen is able to focus on winning games naturally, and their performance is improving,” said SBS Sports commentator Lee Dong-hyun.
Hanwha will now turn to Ricardo Sanchez in search of its first seven-game winning streak in 18 years since June 2005. Sanchez has been the team’s ace this season, going 4-0 with a 1.48 ERA. However, Hanwha, which is still in ninth place in the league, will have to solve the problem of overloading the must-win group if it wants to move up the standings.
“The pitching staff is tired, so the team needs more contributions from other pitching resources to make the team work like a cog,” Lee said. The six-game winning streak was achieved while the team was still in the process of coming together,” said Lee. “If the team can prevent the bullpen from being overloaded and operate the team in a planned manner, it is possible to fight for the top spot.”