‘Finally in the black’ Samsung, what’s changed?

After finishing April with 12 wins and 12 losses in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League, the Samsung Lions played “deficit baseball” with 8 wins and 14 losses in May and 7 wins and 18 losses in June. With a win-loss margin of minus 17 (15-32) in May and June, the team showed no signs of rebounding.

In July, however, the team began to show signs of change. The starting trio of David Buchanan, Albert Suarez, and Won Tae-in returned to form, and the return of Koo Ja-rook from a hamstring injury revitalized the batting lineup. The team went 4-5 in the first nine games of July, then went 5-1 in the second nine, including a three-game winning streak, to finish the month with a record of 9-1-8 (.529 winning percentage). It was the first time this season that the team played “positive baseball,” exceeding a 5% monthly winning percentage. Their July record ranks fourth out of 10 clubs, and their second-half record is second.

The details also stand out. In July, the team led the league in batting average (.291) and second in ERA (3.60). The starting trio of Buchanan, Suarez, and Won has combined for six wins (two losses) and a combined ERA of just 2.16 (16 earned runs in 66.2 innings). Baek Jung-hyun, who was sidelined with elbow pain, also raised hopes in his comeback game, pitching 5.2 innings of two-run ball against the Gochuk Kiwoom Heroes on July 30. The starting rotation will be bolstered by the return of left-hander Choi Chae-heung from the Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Commerce).

The bullpen faltered somewhat in July with a 4.50 ERA (fifth), but veteran Woo Kyu-min had two saves and a 1.13 ERA in nine games, while left-handers Lee Jae-ik (one save and a 2.45 ERA in seven games) and Noh Geon-woo (2.08 in five games) offered hope. In June, the team lost nine of their first 25 games in the fifth inning, which dented their confidence, but in July, they went 7-1 in games leading up to the fifth inning and 9-1 in games leading up to the seventh inning.먹튀검증

The offense has been paced by Koo Ja-woo (.377-1 home run-11 RBI in 16 games) and Jose Pirela (.311-1 home run-11 RBI in 18 games), as well as Kim Hyun-jun (.357-12 RBI), who leads the league in monthly hits (30). With Oh recovering from a hamstring injury, there’s hope that the team will gain even more momentum once he returns to full strength.

While there is plenty to be hopeful about, there is still a long way to go. With 36 wins, 1 draw, and 52 losses, they are still in last place. There are 8.5 games between them and the fifth-place KT Wiz (44W2D43L), which is the minimum to qualify for the Postseason (PS). However, they are only three games behind ninth-place Kiwoom (41W3D51L), and with the mid-table battle so tight, they have the potential to make a scary run once they gain momentum. It’s too early to give up on Samsung, who also lost 13 straight games last season and were fighting for fifth place until the very end. What kind of positive effect will the first ‘positive baseball’ of the season have on Samsung?

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