As we approach the halfway point of the season, the stakes are higher for every win and every loss. This is the time of year when managers start to play the “dirty” game. When starters struggle, bullpens are called upon early and often, and games become all-out bullpen battles, and the differences in bullpen strength between teams are slowly revealed.스포츠토토
Looking at each team’s bullpen, it’s easy to see why SSG and LG, which are solidly in the “two-strong” camp, are doing so well. Their bullpens are less volatile and rarely blow leads. Through the last 22 days of June, SSG leads the bullpen with a 3.36 ERA and LG is third with a 3.38 ERA. In games leading into the fifth inning, SSG is 7-1 and LG is 6-1. That’s a pretty good indication that these teams don’t let games slip away when they’re ahead in the middle innings. In fact, both teams are struggling with their finishing. SSG’s Seo Jin-yong has been getting hit more often since his near-perfect April. While his WHIP (walks allowed per inning) was just 0.89 in April, it nearly doubled to 1.73 in May and soared to 2.29 in June. LG’s Go Woo-seok, who had a slow start to the season due to injury, is still not at full strength. He returned on April 18, but missed all of May due to back pain, and returned to the first team earlier this month. In 13 appearances, he has yet to throw a complete game. Still, compared to other teams, they have the strongest bullpen in terms of both quantity and quality.
On the other hand, Lotte and Samsung’s bullpens were torn apart in June. It’s a direct result of their performance. Lotte, which was tied for first place with LG and SSG until May, has gone into a downward spiral, putting its chances of a top-five finish in fall baseball in jeopardy. The bullpen collapse is crucial. Their 5-14 record (0.263 winning percentage) this month is the worst in the league, and their bullpen ERA of 6.48 is also the lowest in the league.
Samsung’s bullpen is also faltering, as the team’s loss to Kiwoom on May 22 marked its longest active streak in the league since May 2018 at 1865 days. The blowout losses came after the bullpen collapsed in five consecutive games from April 13-17. Samsung’s ERA for the month is 5.19, which is not good.
NC and KIA have also hit a rough patch. While their metrics are still in line, the bullpen burden has been growing rapidly as of late, raising red flags. This is the aftermath of the Gwangju bloodbath between the two teams last weekend. In the first game of the three-game series, on the 16th, each team used six bullpen arms. On the 17th, NC used four relievers and KIA used five. On the 18th, which ended in a 12-inning extra-inning tie, NC used eight bullpen arms and KIA used seven.
The problem for both teams is that they don’t have a starting pitcher who can reliably deliver innings. NC lost Eric Peddie and Koo Chang-mo to injury. Choi Sung-young, who was pitching well, was hit in the head by a pitch. KIA decided to release struggling foreign pitcher Adonis Medina. Both teams will head into the three-game weekend series again without giving their bullpens much time to recover.