9 rainy games in a row…KIA not smiling

The KIA Tigers have played 47 games, the fewest of the 10 clubs until last week. That’s seven games less than the Kiwoom Heroes, who have played the most games. Nine games were rained out.

KIA did not play a single game due to a left calf injury suffered by their top hitter, Na Sung-beom, before the opening day. Second-year infield prospect Kim Do-young also left after just the second game of the season with a right instep injury. Both players are expected to return in late June.

With their main hitters out, it might be advantageous for the team to play as few games as possible before they return. Kia head coach Kim Jong-kook disagrees. “Too many games were canceled due to rain. We need to take a rest day in September (at the end of the season) and the rest of the schedule. I’m already worried.”

KIA struggled in April and May, when the team was not at 100% offensive capacity, going 22-22 (0.500 winning percentage). However, the SSG 먹튀검증 Landers-LG Twins-Lotte Giants “big three” system looks solid, and the NC Dinos and Doosan Bears have also been stronger than expected. Realistically, they can only aim for a top-five finish.

Traveling is also a burden. Seven of their nine rain-shortened games have been away from home. Three games in Suwon against the KT Wiz, three in Changwon against the NC, and one in Daegu against the Samsung Lions. The rainy season hasn’t even arrived yet. If more away games are canceled, the pressure will only increase to fulfill the rest of the schedule.

On top of that, KIA’s bullpen, once considered one of the best in the league, is faltering. Second-year left-hander Choi Ji-min and all-weather pitcher Lim Ki-young are in the mix, but Jung Hae-young, Jang Hyun-sik, and Sang-hyun, who have been protecting the seventh through ninth innings, are in bad shape. The end of the season, with its physical demands, heavy game schedules and long travel distances, is expected to take its toll on the bullpen. And the rainy weather, sometimes just rain. KIA can’t smile.

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