The Kiwoom Heroes, without Lee Jung-hoo (25), fell to their ninth straight loss, tied for the club’s longest losing streak, as their ace struggled with his pitches and Yasoo Jin’s error parade.
Kiwoom lost 1-3 to Lotte in a regular-season home game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Gocheok Sky Dome in Guro-gu, Seoul, on Aug. 8. The nine-game losing streak was the first in 5,196 days since the organization launched as the Kiwoom Heroes in 2019. During their time as the Seoul Heroes, they lost nine straight games (including one tie) from May 6, 2009 against the Mokdong KIA Tigers to May 17, 2009 against the Mokdong LG Twins.
It was unfortunate that their trusted ace, Ahn Woo-jin, didn’t last long, allowing one run (0 earned) on four hits and four walks with six strikeouts in 5⅔ innings. The bats were the bigger problem. While Kim Hwi-jip, the No. 4 hitter, went 4-for-3 with one home run and one RBI, and Kim Tae-jin, who came in as a pinch-hitter, went 2-for-2, the other nine batters were silent with three hits. To make matters worse, the batting lineup looked even more lethargic when another key player, Kim Hye-sung, was hit by a foul ball of his own.
Before the game, Lee said, “After Lee Jung-hoo, there will be a big void if Kim Hye-sung is out (for the Asian Games). I think the rest of the players will have to do a good job to fill it,” said Kium coach Hong Won-ki before the game. With Kim Hye-sung set to be sent to the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games next month and Lee Jung-hoo likely to try out for the United States next season, Kiwoom is faced with the challenge of strengthening its batting lineup.
Lotte won its second straight game as starter Charlie Barnes continued his strong form against Kiwoom this season (2-0 with a 1.15 ERA in three starts) with 5⅔ innings of five-hit ball, two walks (one hit by pitch and one hit by pitch) and seven strikeouts. At the plate, Kim Min-seok went 3-for-3 with a home run and two walks for his first career five-hit game, while Lee Jung-hoon, Ahn Chi-hong, and Noh Jin-hyuk added multi-hit efforts.
Lotte’s lineup was Go Seung-min (left field), Nico Goodrum (third base), Lee Jeong-hoon (designated hitter), Ahn Chi-hong (second base), Yoon Dong-hee (right field), Jeong-hoon (first base), Kim Min-seok (center field), Noh Jin-hyeok (shortstop), and Son Sung-bin (catcher). Charlie Barnes was the starter.
Kiwoom’s batting order was Lee Ju-hyung (right fielder), Kim Hye-sung (second baseman), Ronnie Dawson (center fielder), Kim Hwi-jip (shortstop), Song Sung-moon (third baseman), Kim Su-hwan (first baseman), Park Chan-hyuk (designated hitter), Lee Ji-young (catcher), and Kim Jun-wan (left fielder). Ahn Woo-jin was the starter. 스포츠토토
In the bullpen, Lotte had a big catching prospect, Son Seong-bin (21). Son will be teaming up with Barnes for the first time after he and Aaron Wilkerson combined for the third no-hitter in KBO history and the franchise’s first against the SSG Landers in Busan on June 6. LOTTE manager Larry Sutton said, “The thing that impressed me the most about Son Sung-bin in the last game was that his combination with the pitcher was really good. The catcher read the pitcher’s mind so well that he didn’t shake his head too much,” said Sutton. “Barnes has his own style of play, but I think Son will bring something to the table.”
Kiwoom will start Lee Ju-hyung, 22, in the leadoff spot for the first time since he was acquired in a trade last month. Although it’s a small sample size, Lee is batting .367 with two home runs, six RBIs, five runs scored, one stolen base and an OPS of 1 in eight games since his arrival.