[Weekly outlook] Samsung escapes last place, hosts leader LG in a three-game home stand…”Cheer up, Koo Ja-rook-Won Tae-in”

Leading LG tops team batting average and ERA
Samsung and LG have a large gap in bullpen ERA
Won Tae-in and Adam Plutko to start on the 15th
Expect a strong batting line-up anchored by batting leader Koo Ja-rook

메이저사이트 Samsung Lions batting nucleus Koo Ja-rook (left) and starting pitcher Won Tae-in. Courtesy of Samsung Lions

They escaped last place on the road. Now, they face tough opponents as they look to ignite their rise at home. The Samsung Lions open a six-game home series against the LG Twins and Kia Tigers as the battle for the top spot in the 2023 KBO season rages on.

After falling to last place in June, Samsung climbed out of a seemingly bottomless pit last week. But there’s no time to rest on their laurels. It plays three games against leader LG from the 15th and then three against KIA, which is trying to play “autumn baseball” from the 18th.

LG is leading the league with six games to spare over second-place SSG Landers. Their momentum is strong with five straight wins. From the 18th, a three-game series against SSG awaits. A good three-game series against Samsung and a strong showing against SSG this weekend could effectively end the race for first place.

Like the leaders, LG is strong with both bats. They have the highest team batting average (0.284) and the lowest team ERA (3.63). Samsung, on the other hand, is a mixed bag. The bats spin well, but the mound is shaky. They have the fifth-best team batting average (0.263) and the worst team ERA (4.63).

The two teams are especially far apart in the bullpen. According to baseball statistics site Statiz, LG’s starters rank sixth in ERA (4.05), four spots above Samsung’s (10th – 4.34). However, LG’s bullpen ranks first (3.20), well ahead of Samsung’s (9th – 5.09).

LG’s starting pitcher for Game 1 against Samsung on the 15th is Adam Plutko. He has appeared in 18 games this season, posting an 11-2 record with a 2.33 ERA. He has 14 quality starts (six innings of three earned runs or less). He’s been the ace in place of Casey Kelly, who hasn’t been himself (7-6, 4.66 ERA).

Samsung will counter Plutko with homegrown ace Won Tae-in. Won has appeared in 19 games this season, going 4-6 with a 3.52 ERA. He has been a regular in the starting rotation with 13 quality starts. Won hasn’t had much luck, but he’s gotten more seasoned in his sixth year as a professional.

Samsung Lions starting pitcher Won Tae-in. He will start against the LG Twins at home in Daegu on the 15th. Courtesy of Samsung

Guzauk is the nucleus of the Samsung Lions’ offence. He has been on a tear lately and has risen to the top of the batting order. Courtesy of Samsung

The mound battle alone is not enough against LG. The batting line-up needs to step up and keep the game close. Koo Ja-rook is the core of Samsung’s batting line-up. By focusing on timing and centring his bat rather than power, he has become a force to be reckoned with, leading the team in batting average (0.338). His batting average in the last 10 games is 0.514.

Ryu Ji-hyuk and Kim Sung-yoon are also hitting well. However, top hitters Kim Hyun-jun and Kang Min-ho have been a little off lately. If Oh Jae-il’s recovery is slow, Jose Pirela will need to step up. If they can get to the LG mound early and harass the bullpen, they will have a better chance of winning not only Game 1 but also Games 2 and 3.

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