July was a typhoon. It was a complete revolt of the bottom teams.
The leaderboards from June and July were completely different. In June, the standings were LG Twins, SSG Landers, NC Dinos, Lotte Giants, Kiwoom Heroes, Doosan Bears, KT Wiz, Hanwha Eagles, Kia Tigers, and Samsung Lions.
However, teams ranked 6-10 in June turned things around in July. They occupied the top five spots on the leaderboard until the All-Star Break.
Doosan took the top spot with a nine-game winning streak throughout July, followed by Kia, which reversed a six-game losing streak to finish second with a 7-2 record and a winning percentage of .778. KT is third with six wins and four losses, followed by Hanwha with four wins and three losses, and Samsung with four wins and five losses.
First-place LG is sixth with three wins and four losses, and second-place SSG is eighth with two wins and five losses. NC was seventh with three wins and six losses, followed by Kiwoom in ninth with three wins and eight losses and Lotte in last with two wins and six losses.
Doosan had the perfect first half finale. They won all nine games. In those nine games, they had a team ERA of just 1.76 and a team batting average of 29.9. The pitching and hitting was outstanding. Kwak Bin Kwak picked up two wins with 11 shutout innings in two games, while the returning Brandon Waddell picked up two wins with a 1.38 ERA in two games. Closer Hong Gun-hee has four saves and one hold, while setup man Jung Chul-won is 1-0 with two saves and three holds.
Kang Seung-ho was a big part of the winning streak with 12 hits and two home runs in nine games. Yang went 4-for-8 with a home run and five RBIs in eight games (13-for-27), while Yang Seok-hwan also had six RBIs with two home runs. Park Jun-young, the compensation for free agent Park Se-hyuk, also batted 4-for-7 (12-for-5) with one home run and five RBIs in four games, while Jung Soo-bin had a breakout season at the plate, batting 3-for-6 (13-for-36) with eight runs scored and four RBIs while playing sharp defense. Even Jose Rojas, who has been struggling, batted 3-for-3 (9-for-27) with six RBIs. It was easier to find the bad players than the good ones.
The winning streak may have taken its toll on the team, but the All-Star break came at just the right time, allowing them to start the second half of the season well-rested.
Kia also had a down year, falling to ninth place, but they turned things around in July by reorganizing their team. They sent Ryu Ji-hyuk to Samsung and brought back veteran catcher Kim Tae-gun, and replaced both of their foreign pitchers, bringing in Sanchez and Panoni. With Na Sung-beom and Kim Do-young returning from injury to fill out the batting order, KIA’s pitching staff has been upgraded. In July, the duo posted a solid 2.14 ERA and a 2.18 batting average, both of which ranked second in the league. The All-Star break will give Kim Tae-gun and new pitcher Susan Chess time to adjust to the team after being forced to start as soon as the All-Star break came around.
KT, which finished first in the June standings, will also look to stabilize in the second half of the season. They started off slow with three straight losses to KIA, but turned things around by sweeping the last three games of the first half against Kiwoom. They have a lot of veterans in the lineup and the break will help them manage their stamina.
Hanwha also ended the first half with a win over Moon Dong-ju and went into the break in a good mood. The team has a good two-hit balance and the bullpen has been particularly strong 꽁머니사이트.
In last place, Samsung still has some hope. The bullpen has been steady, ranking third overall with a 2.89 ERA. The batting lineup has been revitalized by the return of Koo Ja-roo, who is batting 3-for-4 with eight RBIs in 23 at-bats in seven games.
Lotte’s fall has been unfortunate. Their team batting average is 2-for-4 and their ERA is 6.78, both last in the league. The team’s struggles have been exacerbated by the inability to overcome injuries, with only Yoon Dong-hee (batting average of 0.345) and Kim Min-seok (batting average of 0.308) hitting well, and the lack of offense from the main lineup. The pitching staff did not perform well either, with the exception of Kim Won-joong, who recorded two saves, and Kim Sang-soo, who showed signs of recovery. Lotte chose to part ways with Rex and bring in new slugger Niko Gudrum to try and turn things around in the second half.
The week-long All-Star break was the break every team was hoping for. Which team recharged their batteries will determine how they perform in the second half. The rest of the month of July will be different, as the heatwave is upon us and the battle for the top spot begins in earnest.