The Kia Tigers enter the second half of the season with a three-game series against the Doosan Bears at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field starting on the 21st. They finished the first half with three wins and three losses and sixth place. The goal for the second half is to qualify for fall baseball. Last year, they finished in fifth place and held a wild-card spot. This year, they’re looking to do even better.
Their opponents in the second half are tough. Their first opponent, Doosan, has won nine games in a row and is ranked third in the Pajok Giseo. They will start ace Raul Alcantara and try to extend their winning streak to 10 games. KIA, who were on a six-game winning streak at the end of the first half, also sent Mario Sanchez. They will need to stop Doosan’s winning streak and maintain their momentum.
They will then play three games in a row against 토토사이트 the fourth-ranked NC in Game 2, followed by a three-game series against the fifth-ranked Lotte in Game 1. These are the opponents that KIA will need to overcome if they want to make a run at the top. If the deficit grows in the nine-game series, they may lose the power to fight back later. “The first nine games are the most important,” said coach Kim Jong-guk at Champions Field on the 20th. The players know that. We must gain strength here,” he ordered.
Kim called a meeting before training: “Starting tomorrow, let’s start with the mindset of starting the season, even though it’s the second half. I want the players who did well in the first half to do better, and the players who didn’t do well can make up for it in the second half,” he said. It was an emotional meeting. The players made adjustments for the second half of the season through the last training session in tension.
KIA’s strength for the second half is complete. At the start of the season, they didn’t have Na Sung-bum, the ‘Fixer’, and Kim Do-young, the ‘Chance Acre’, was injured after only two games. Leadoff hitter Choi Won-jun returned to full health on June 13, and Na Sung-beom and Kim Do-young returned on June 23 to form a strong batting lineup. The team also bolstered the catcher position with the trade acquisition of Kim Tae-gun.
In addition, the team added Mario Sanchez and Thomas Pannoni to the roster, replacing both of their outfield pitchers. Prior to this, Seo Jae-heng, a rehabilitation group coach, was called up as the main pitching coach for the first team. Closer Jung Hae-young, who struggled in the first half, also succeeded in recovering after an adjustment period. The mound, defense, and offense (batting and runs) were greatly strengthened.
The atmosphere changed dramatically, and the team turned things around with a 7-2 record (2nd place) in July. Coach Kim asked the players to “start with the mindset of the opening game” and rebound with full strength. It will be interesting to see if the team will be able to utilize that strength in the nine-game series against Doosan, NC, and Lotte. In particular, the first three games against Doosan, a team on the rise, will be a good indicator of the second half of the season.