(By Yoo Jun-sang, Xinhua Sports) The Sunday Lions, who can neither laugh nor cry, will be different in Pohang.
The Samsung Lions will play a three-game midweek series against the Doosan Bears of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at the Pohang Baseball Stadium from the 4th. The three-game series will not be held at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu, but at Pohang Baseball Stadium, Samsung’s “second home” since 2012.
With the exception of 2020 and 2021, which were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Samsung has traveled to Pohang every year since the stadium opened and has a record of 40 wins, 1 draw, and 18 losses. With a winning percentage of 0.690, it’s a place that holds many fond memories for Samsung.
Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop, the ‘Reds’, also has a strong connection to Pohang Stadium.
He is an integral part of the stadium’s history, becoming the first KBO player in history to reach 400 career home runs in a home game against the Lotte Giants on June 3, 2015. He also hit 15 home runs at the stadium. As an active player, Lee’s numbers for Pohang are 39 games, 141 at-bats, 51 hits, a .362 batting average, 15 home runs, and 45 RBIs.
Samsung also went 33-11 in Pohang during Lee’s playing days, a winning percentage of more than 7 percent (.750). Despite playing the 먹튀검증 majority of their home games at Daegu Citizens’ Baseball Stadium and Lions Park, the team gave Pohang fans plenty of wins. But now, instead of being known as Samsung’s Lee Seung-yeop, he will be known as Doosan’s Lee Seung-yeop.
Last-place Samsung will look to turn things around in the ‘promised land’ of Pohang.
Samsung snapped a four-game losing streak last week and ended the week with a one-run victory against the Hanwha Eagles in Daegu on Sunday, 2-1. On Sunday, the team continued its strong form with a 9-4-1 record and a 0.692 winning percentage in 13 matches. However, their inability to accumulate a lot of points has increased the gap between them and the ninth-place KIA Tigers to 4.5 games.
Neither the players nor the coaching staff have let go of their hopes for a breakthrough and a mid-table finish, and for that to become a reality, they must turn things around in the Pohang three-game series. Before the end of the first half, they need to improve their win percentage as much as possible to have a chance of ‘turning the tables’.
If all goes according to plan, Samsung will use Albert Suarez and two domestic starters in the three-game series.
In terms of rotation, Choi Chae-heung will start the final game of the series (Game 6) and for Game 5, the door is open for the return of left-hander Baek Jung-hyun, who has missed one rotation since being designated for assignment due to left elbow discomfort.
While Samsung doesn’t necessarily have the starting pitching advantage over Doosan, which starts Choi Won-jun, Kim Dong-joo, and Brandon Waddell in that order, it’s nice to have the support. With outfielder Koo Ja-rook joining the first team as early as the fourth day, the bats may have some breathing room.
Samsung manager Park Jin-man has stated that the team will “go all out” until the end of the first half. The idea is to utilize their bullpen resources as much as possible and see the game through to the end. It remains to be seen if they can stick to their game plan against Dusan.