Crisis after crisis, streak after streak—Kia’s tenacious survival instincts finally find confidence

KIA has had several losing streaks and winning streaks this season. Strangely enough, whenever the team is on a losing streak and their spirits are low, they go on a winning streak to turn things around.안전놀이터

After a five-game losing streak, the longest in the first half (May 10 against SSG and May 14 against Doosan), the team won four straight games against Samsung and Kiwoom, and when the team went 3-1 and 0-8 in 12 games from June 17 against NC to July 2 against LG Electronics, the team changed the mood with the decision to replace two foreign pitchers at once and won six straight games.

KIA, which has had its ups and downs with a pattern of losing streaks followed by winning streaks, but has consistently maintained a winning percentage of around 5 percent, is now on a winning streak amid a mound crisis. They had won eight straight games before the SSG game on March 3.

KIA has had a serious mound crisis lately. Yang Hyun-jong was removed from the roster due to poor performance, and around the same time, Lee Yi-ri developed a slight pain in his shoulder and was also removed from the roster. Just as Lee was ready to return, foreign pitcher Mario Sanchez left with elbow pain. Sanchez was given a four-week diagnosis.

Sanchez’s departure was a major blow to the KIA team. With a rotating gap in the starting lineup and the most rainouts in the league, KIA’s September math was going to be tough. However, Kia has since exploded with offense to continue its winning streak. After removing Sanchez from the lineup on Aug. 28 in the midst of a four-game winning streak, KIA won four more games in a row and went on an eight-game winning streak. In between, two games were canceled due to rain, but the offense exploded, scoring 71 runs in eight games. The pitching staff has also been outstanding, with an ERA of 2.75. Returning pitchers Yang Hyun-jong, Yoon Young-cheol, and Panoni pitched well.

The winning streak has helped Kia get back on its feet after seemingly falling off a cliff. They’ve moved up to fourth place in just over four months since the start of the season on May 9. They’re still in the fight for the top five, but they’re not far off the pace, and are now in a position to have a completely different outcome depending on how they perform in the rest of September.

The biggest change we’ve seen in KIA’s game is confidence as they’ve reeled off back-to-back wins. “When we’re playing, we don’t feel like we’re going to lose, even if we’re behind,” the batters have been saying lately. Kim Do-young, the youngest member of the team, who hit a wedge home run against SSG on the 3rd, said, “I think the momentum is scary. We talk about it a lot during the game. It’s not anyone in particular, but we all say to each other, ‘I don’t think we’re going to lose,’” she said. Confidence is the biggest weapon in competition.

Kia has been at the top of the team batting charts all season, but early in the season, they were vulnerable in crunch time. The team would lose focus when it mattered most, getting on base well but leaving a lot of outs. However, the players gained confidence as they worked through the ups and downs and didn’t crumble. The result is a batting lineup that explodes like a powder keg regardless of the batting order. Since August, KIA is the only team batting over .316. The team’s batting average with runners in scoring position, which was the best in the league through July at .275, has been dominant since August at .385.

Hanging in there gave KIA a chance in the second half of the season. The team is preparing to focus on the September race, where the Asian Games and an irregular schedule await. “The team’s ‘ups and downs’ have been severe, but we seem to have the strength to overcome them through teamwork, especially the hitters,” said Kia head coach Kim Jong-guk, “I don’t think the rankings mean anything right now. We need to win as much as we can while we can. We are counting (our wins) not only before the Asian Games but also during the Asian Games.”

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