The KIA Tigers played 47 games, the fewest among 10 clubs, until last week. 7 fewer games than Kiwoom Heroes, who played the most games. This is because nine games were postponed due to rain.
KIA was unable to play a single game due to an injury to the left calf suffered by Na Seong-beom, the leading hitter, before the opening. Kim Do-young, 안전놀이터 the second-year ‘infield hopeful’, also left after the second game of the season due to a right foot injury. The two players are aiming for a comeback at the end of June.
Since the main hitters are missing, it may be advantageous to play as few games as possible until they return. KIA coach Kim Jong-guk has a different idea. “Too many games have been canceled due to rain. In September (at the end of the season) or the rest of the schedule, rest days are needed. I am already worried.”
KIA struggled with a record of 22 wins and 22 losses (0.500 win rate) in April and May, when it was not able to demonstrate 100% offensive power. However, SSG Landers, LG Twins, and Lotte Giants ‘three-strong’ system seems to be solid, and NC Dinos and Doosan Bears are also showing stronger power than expected. Realistically, we have no choice but to set our goal of entering the top five.
Moving is also cumbersome. Of the 9 games postponed due to rain, 7 were away. 3 away games in Suwon against KT Wiz, 3 away games in Changwon against NC, and 1 away game in Daegu against Samsung Lions. The rainy season hasn’t even come yet. If more away games are canceled, the burden of digesting the remaining game schedule will inevitably increase.
Above all, KIA’s bullpen, which was rated as the best among 10 clubs, is shaking. Second-year left-hander Choi Ji-min and all-weather pitcher Lim Ki-young are struggling, but Jung Hae-young, Jang Hyeon-sik, and Jeon Sang-hyun, who have kept the 7th to 9th innings, are in poor condition. At the end of the season, when the burden of physical strength increases, many game schedules and long travel distances are expected to be bad news for bullpen pitchers. Sometimes it rains like sweet rain. KIA can’t laugh.