Hong Chang-ki, who seemed to come out of nowhere with a magic bat, saved the day for LG. League leader LG continued its march toward the regular season title with two straight wins.
LG won 10-4 against SSG in the Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League 2023 at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Saturday, led by Hong Chang-ki’s game-winning hit in the sixth inning after trailing 4-5. LG (72 wins, 47 losses and two ties), which won its second consecutive game following its victory over Hanwha in Daejeon the previous day (Nov. 15), extended its lead over second-place KT to six games and took a step closer to winning the regular season title. SSG (62W57L2D), on the other hand, lost its third straight game and dropped to fourth place behind KIA and tied for fifth with Doosan.
For LG, starter Casey Kelly, who was nearly flawless through the first five innings, fell apart in the sixth, allowing four runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. However, the bullpen came through in a big way to preserve the lead. Kim Jin-sung, Yoo Young-chan, and Baek Seung-hyun took over.토토사이트
At the plate, leadoff hitter Hong Chang-ki, who has been very strong against SSG this season, led the team with a 3-hit, 3 RBI performance, including the game-winning hit in the sixth inning. The top of the order was also active, with Shin Min-jae going 2-for-2, Kim Hyun-soo going 2-for-3, and Austin Austin going 2-for-4, while the entire team’s bats were strong, with Moon Bo-kyung going 3-for-1, Park Dong-won going 2-for-1, Park Hae-min going 1-for-2, and Moon Sung-joo going 1-for-1. LG finished with 15 hits on the day.
SSG, on the other hand, struggled as starter Oh Won-seok couldn’t get over the hump in the sixth inning, giving up five runs on nine hits with one walk and one strikeout in 5⅔ innings. He was followed by Ko Hyo-joon, who gave up two runs in ⅓ of an inning, and Choi Min-joon, who couldn’t do much at all, giving up two runs in ⅓ of an inning. At the plate, Choo Shin-soo had a hit and a walk, Choi Ji-hoon had two hits, Choi Joo-hwan had one hit and two RBIs, and Park Sung-hwan had two hits and one RBI, but they were outmatched by LG’s firepower.
Jamsil Jesus on the rise, Oh Won-seok ‘Goliath and David’ against LG
Coming into Jamsil off a 4-3, rain-shortened victory over Hanwha in the seventh inning in Daejeon the day before, LG was pleased to be able to pull off the victory without much of a bullpen drain. With a 5.5-game lead over second-place KT and a six-game lead over third-place NC in the regular season, LG calculated that it needed to win at least 14 of its remaining 24 games to clinch the title, so the starting pitchers were ready to go after four days of rest.
LG starter Casey Kelly had been pitching unevenly until the middle of the season, but his recent form has raised expectations for the future. After a six-inning, three-hit shutout win against Lotte on Aug. 24, Kelly pitched six innings of one-run ball against Doosan on Aug. 31, striking out four in seven innings, and in his last start against KT on Aug. 6, he threw seven innings of two-hit ball with eight strikeouts and no runs.
In his last five starts, he has four quality starts (6+ innings or less) and a 1.80 ERA in his last five starts. In three games against SSG this season, he’s 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA, but in 16 career games against SSG, he’s pitched well with a 3.33 ERA, so there’s reason to believe in his recent uptick.
LG’s starting lineup wasn’t much different. Hong Chang-ki (right fielder) and Shin Min-jae (second baseman) set the table, while Kim Hyun-soo (designated hitter), Austin (first baseman), and Oh Ji-hwan (shortstop) formed the center of the batting order. Moon Bo-kyung (third baseman), Park Dong-won (catcher), Moon Sung-joo (left fielder), and Park Hae-min (center fielder) comprised the bottom of the order.
On the other hand, SSG, which took a 2-0 lead against Doosan in Jamsil on the 14th and lost the game after Seo Jin-yong gave up three runs in the ninth inning, took a day off on the 15th to regroup. However, the team was chased by Kia and Doosan and hadn’t performed well since August, so there was a sense of crisis throughout the team.
Starting the game was left-hander Oh Won-seok, who hasn’t shown the expected growth this season with a 6-8 record and a 5.48 ERA. Oh has struggled in his last five games with a 9.74 ERA, and in his two appearances against LG this season, he has been thoroughly underwhelming with a 12.60 ERA in two losses. In his 12 career starts against the LG, he is also 3-5 with an 8.29 ERA.
“Moon Seung-won (who was available for the game) was also weak against LG,” SSG manager Kim Won-hyung explained, “but we considered that LG has a lot of lefties.” The batting order was Choo Shin-soo (designated hitter), Choi Ji-hoon (center fielder), Choi Jeong (third baseman), Eredia (left fielder), Choi Ju-hwan (first baseman), Park Sung-sung (shortstop), Han Yu-seom (right fielder), Kim Sung-hyun (second baseman), and Kim Min-sik (catcher).
Kelly’s strong pitching, Oh Won-seok’s counterattack… Hong Chang-ki breaks the flow
Kelly continued his recent good form. His fastball was around 150 kilometers per hour, which is not as exceptional as usual, but his three pitches – a slider, curveball, and changeup – left SSG hitters helpless. His pitch selection was good and he had good angles on each.
Kelly was strong through the fifth inning, allowing just two hits. Conversely, he struck out six. Most of the SSG batters tried to hit Kelly’s changeup, but nothing really stuck. In the first inning, Kelly got Choo Shin-soo to ground into an infield single, struck out Choi Ji-hoon, and got Choi Jung to fly out to left field. Two batters later, he gave up a double to Park Sung-hwan that landed next to the left-field fence, but catcher Park Dong-won made the catch at second base as Han Yoo-seom batted. It was ruled an out after video review.
Meanwhile, LG took the lead in the first inning. The leadoff hitter was Hong Chang-ki. Hong led off with a clean single to left-center against SSG starter Oh Won-seok and then stole second base on a wild pitch.