SSG, ‘No. 1 in annual salary and defending champion’, ends the season in vain with all 3 losses in semi-PO games

SSG Landers failed to return to Incheon and ended the 2023 Korean Professional Baseball KBO League schedule at Changwon NC Park.

SSG lost 6-7 in the third game of the semi-playoffs against NC Dinos held at Changwon NC Park on the 25th.

SSG, which finished the regular season in 3rd place, bowed out in 3 consecutive games to NC, which advanced through the wild card game, and exited the fall stage. The dream of winning the Korean Series for two years in a row also came to nothing.

Last year, SSG achieved the KBO League’s first ‘Wire-to-Wire Championship’, never missing first place from the opening game of the regular season to the end of the regular season. In the Korean Series, they defeated Kiwoom Heroes and won the overall championship.

This year started well too. SSG finished the first half of the season, which ended on July 13, in second place (46 wins, 32 losses, 1 draw). The gap with first place LG Twins (49 wins, 30 losses, 2 draws) was 2.5 games.

It was an achievement achieved amidst the negative news that foreign pitcher Enny Romero was released without pitching a single game, and Kirk McCarty, who played the role of ace, was absent for nearly a month.

SSG continued to compete for the lead until July 31st, chasing leader LG by 2.5 games. However, in August, they suffered 5 consecutive losses and were pushed out of the race for the lead, and in September, they performed poorly with 6 wins, 15 losses, and 2 draws, and were on the verge of being eliminated from the postseason. On September 22nd, it fell to 6th place.

SSG won 10 wins and 2 losses in October, pushing out NC (4th place) and Doosan Bears (5th place) and won a direct ticket to the semi-PO. SSG’s regular season record was 76 wins, 65 losses, and 3 draws (winning percentage 0.539).

SSG coach Kim Won-hyung said, “At the end of the regular season, we went straight to the semi-PO with a good atmosphere, concentration, and a united power to win,” and added, “I will prepare well so that I can show that kind of attitude at the semi-PO as well.”

During his time with the predecessor SK Wyverns, he entered the Korean Series for six consecutive seasons from 2007 to 2012 and won three times, building a dynasty, and also believed in the ‘fall DNA’ that was highlighted by winning the championship in 2018 and 2022.

However, the 2023 SSG was weaker in the fall stage. SSG is a team that pursues ‘Win Now’. Ahead of the opening of the 2023 season, the KBO announced the highest average annual salary excluding foreign players and rookies (KRW 175.59 million), and the highest average annual salary of the top 28 players (KRW 309.57 million), which is the criteria for registering first-team entries in the regular season. ) were all SSG.

In addition to Choo Shin-soo and Kim Kang-min, a duo born in 1982 who were in difficult times, players in their mid to late 30s, including Choi Jeong, Kim Gwang-hyun, Noh Kyung-eun, and Ko Hyo-jun, played as key players in the first team. Not only the club but also coach Kim Won-hyung expected a ‘natural generational change’, but juniors who surpassed the ‘older brothers’ did not emerge.

Of the nine starting lineup of SSG fielders in the third game of the semi-PO, only one, shortstop Park Seong-han, was in his 20s. Although high school graduate rookie pitchers Song Young-jin and Lee Ro-woon were registered as semi-PO entries, they could not be featured in the match. In addition, it was revealed that ‘physical punishment’ of individuals and groups occurred in the Futures (2nd team) squad, exposing problems in the training system.

SSG, which has the KBO League’s leading pitchers Kim Gwang-hyun and Choi Jeong, has no choice but to pursue a ‘win now’ for the time being. If they select good foreign players, they have the potential to challenge for the presidency once again.

However, Han Yu-seom (batting average of 0.273, 7 home runs, 55 RBI), Seung-won Moon (5 wins, 8 losses, 1 save, 9 holds, ERA 5.23), and Jong-hoon Park (2 wins, 6 losses) signed a multi-year contract before becoming eligible as a free agent (FA). It was also confirmed that if the ERA (average ERA 6.19) is as poor as this year, he will be pushed out of the battle for the lead.스포츠토토

SSG begins planning the 2024 season with deep consideration. SSG coach Kim Won-hyung bowed his head at a press conference after being eliminated as a semi-PO, saying, “We should have won today, but we didn’t get it right when replacing the pitcher or appointing a pinch hitter. I take full responsibility.”

He continued, “We are clearly lacking in strength right now,” and pledged, “As a coach, I also experienced bitterness in the postseason for the first time, and I will work hard to shake off my disappointment and come back in good shape by preparing well for next year’s season starting in November.” .

Finally, Coach Kim expressed his gratitude to the fans for their enthusiastic support throughout the year and to the players who worked hard.

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