It’s becoming baseball where you fight as a team to win안전놀이터.”
This season, the Lotte Giants are 6-11 (.353 winning percentage) in games in which they trailed by five runs or more, the most comeback wins among the 10 clubs in that category.
The Giants have also won all 22 games in which they led in the seventh inning, ranking first in that category as well.
Photo by Chun Jeong-hwan
In short, this year’s Lotte team is not only a master of upsets, but also a team with a strong backbone. They have all the makings of a powerhouse team.
That’s why they’ve been so successful this season, sitting in third place, two games behind the first-place LG Twins and one game behind the second-place SSG Landers.
Speaking ahead of their upcoming game against the Kiwoom Heroes at Gocheok Sky Dome on June 26, the manager credits his players for the team’s remarkable turnaround.
“I want to give credit to the players for that,” said Lotte Giants head coach Larry Sutton, “because they’ve been working hard, our team colors and identity have been solidified.” “I think the players are playing hard based on that identity, and that’s why the record is coming out,” he said.
Sutton believes the team’s identity has brought them closer together. “I think the biggest strength of our team this year is that we’re playing as a team,” Sutton said, analyzing that “instead of just relying on one or two players, we’re now playing ‘winning baseball as a team,’ with every player understanding their role and fulfilling it.”
In fact, Lotte is eighth in the league with a team ERA of 4.03 and sixth with a team OPS of 0.682 this season. Despite their lack of two-hitting success, they have a high winning percentage due to their team color and focus.
The manager also points to the pitchers’ competitive nature and good defense as strengths. “There’s a lot of desire on the pitching side and a lot of desire to protect the lead,” Sutton said, adding that the team’s focus late in games is definitely better than last year, especially with the pitching and defense.
Sutton also praised the mental toughness of the pitchers, saying, “They’re showing a lot of mental toughness right now, especially the pitchers, not focusing on personal things like, ‘I’m not feeling good today,’ or ‘I’m not feeling good today,’ but just trying to finish the game and get a win.”
Looking to continue their winning streak on the road, Lotte lined up with Kim Min-seok (center field), Ahn Kwon-soo (left field), Jeon Jun-woo (designated hitter), Ahn Chi-hong (first base), Ko Seung-min (right field), Noh Jin-hyuk (shortstop), Han Dong-hee (third base), Yoo Kang-nam (catcher), and Park Seung-wook (second base) against Kiwoom starter Ariel Furado on Saturday. Dan Straily is the starting pitcher.