It was a mixed bag in Gocheok and Jamsil, where a baseball game was played on July 30.
Facing Samsung, Kiwoom had a difficult game as starter Jang Jae-young was pulled early with only two outs. Jang Jae-young left the mound with the bases loaded on a head shot and was responsible for six runs. Kiwoom lost the game 6-10.
Meanwhile, in Jamsil, Choi Won-tae, who was wearing a Kiwoom uniform until a few days ago, made his first start since his transfer. Won-tae Choi pitched six innings of two-hit, no walks and five strikeouts against the Doosan lineup. The offense drove in 10 runs. Won-tae Choi earned the win in his first game after being traded.
It was a disappointing day for Kiwoom fans. A heavy rain warning was in effect for the southwestern part of Seoul, and it suddenly rained heavily. Kiwoom, which played at 2 p.m., announced after the game that it had distributed 2,000 long umbrellas to fans.
“The umbrellas were made for the event,” the club said, “Due to the nature of the dome stadium, it is difficult to check the weather outside, and it is difficult to prepare umbrellas in advance without checking the forecast in advance. Kiwoom will continue to do our best to provide safety and convenience for spectators.”
스포츠토토 It’s a good idea to protect fans from the sudden rain, but the timing isn’t great. Coincidentally, this event took place on the same day as Choi Won-tae’s first appearance after his transfer. This is why Kiwoom’s good deed for the fans doesn’t get the praise it deserves.
Choi Won-tae is Kiwoom’s franchise player. After graduating from Seoul High, he was drafted by Nexen (now Kiwoom) in the first round in 2015. He showed promise with 11 wins (7 losses) in 2017, his second year in the first team, and accumulated double-digit wins for three consecutive years, including 13 wins (7 losses) in 2018 and 11 wins (5 losses) in 2019, before failing to reach 10 wins due to up-and-down pitching.
However, he has matured after his experience in the Korean Series bullpen last year. He was also encouraged by Kiwoom manager Hong Won-ki to prepare early for this year’s spring training in Taiwan, where the program emphasizes live games. As a result, Choi went 6-4 with a 3.05 ERA in 16 games in the first half of the season. He was the second best pitcher on the team behind Ahn Woo-jin. This is the result of his growth in Kiwoom.
The only bright spot for Kiwoom, which is bouncing around in ninth place after 30 days, is its starting pitching. The starting rotation of Ariel Hurtado, Ian McKinney, Ahn Woo-jin, and Choi Won-tae was arguably the best in the league. Fifth starter Chung Chan-heon also contributed a lot.
However, the team traded away its most important pieces. Infielder Lee Ju-hyung and pitcher Kim Dong-gyu are promising prospects, but they’re not the kind of players who can pull the team out of the hole right away. They’re also not enough to replace Lee Jeong-hoo, who is out with an injury. Even after the trade, Kiwoom lost two games in a row when their starting pitcher collapsed early.
Immediately, on August 1, the team will face LG at Jamsil Stadium. LG ended July with a four-game winning streak, with Choi Won-tae joining the team. Kiwoom is now 3-1-1 and 5-5 against LG this season. With 10th-ranked Samsung on a three-game winning streak and only three games behind Kiwoom, they could easily slip to the bottom of the table.
In the meantime, Kiwoom is losing its fans. The repeated departures of key players from Kiwoom have hurt fan sentiment. Kiwoom’s home attendance of 401,200 is the lowest among teams in the Seoul metropolitan area. It’s nearly half of LG’s (759,073). If Kiwoom was hoping to placate fans with a simple umbrella, they were wrong.