Sports Donga's got the goods, Ryu Hyun-jin is about to return from his shoulder injury. His Hanhwa Eagles will play a couple of make-up games at Samsung Lions in Daegu on the 6th and 7th (September), and Ryu is expected to start one of those games.
Ryu pitched 1.1 innings of relief in his team's Friday (September 2) win over the Nexen Heroes. He threw 23 pitches and let no runs in, which was very important in the 1-0 win. His fastest pitch was 149 kmh and he reported no pain in his shoulder. It is reported he isn't fully recovered yet, however.
Lotte's Got Second
Samsung Lions are enjoying a 5 game lead over current second place Lotte Giants. But the #'s 2, 3, 4 positions are only separated by 3 games, top to bottom. The Giants are a game above Kia Tigers, and Kia is 2 games above the SK Wyverns. (0.0 - 5.0 - 6.0 - 8.0).
Sports Kyeonghyang decided to go ahead and ask some people who they thought was going to grab 2nd, and everyone decided on Lotte.
Lotte has definitely been the best team in the league after the All Star break, going from out of the playoff picture to second place in the league.
Baseball experts are applauding this year's Giants team as different from years before. Lotte always depended on their offense. But Lotte's pitching has improved and the Giants are a balanced team both offensively and defensively. Their "texture" has changed, says one baseball person.
Lotte is said to have a strong rotation, strong middle and closing relief, no injuries, nobody slumping, and a "synergy" this season.
Foes Kia Tigers and SK Wyverns are said to be weak. Kia is suffering from injuries, SK also has injuries in addition to their manager Kim Seung-geun being relieved of his duties mid-season.
Here's what the homies said about Lotte:
Lee Soon-chul, MBC Sports: "Safe rotation."
Yang Sang-moon, MBC Sports: "No injuries, great atmosphere."
Lee Hyo-bong, MBC Sports: "Keep doing what they are doing now, will stay in second place."
Kim Yong-hui, SBS ESPN: "Players know winning baseball."
Ahn Gyeong-hyun: SBS ESPN: "No big change? Then Lotte."
Yang Joon-hyuk, SBS ESPN: "Starting rotation, middle and end relievers good."
Lee Yong-chul, KBS: "Kia has too few games left, and SK is depleted, Lotte in second."
Lee Byung-hoon, KBS N Sports: "Batting is great, defense and pitching too."
Make up games aplenty.
Tuesday and Wednesday, September 6 and 7: Han at Sam, Doosan at LG, SK at Heroes
One of two two game series days. Ryu Hyun-jin expected to start in the Han/Sam series. SK luckiest team as it faces hapless Heroes as they fight off LG to stay in 4th place.
Thursday, September 8: Han at Nex, Lot at SK, Bears at LG, Lions at Tigs
Han at Nex is a series, Han is by far the stronger of the two. Lot at SK is also a series, interesting to see if what the experts reported above will be correct. Meanwhile, Tigers will try to regain second place.
Friday, September 9: Han at Nex, Kia at Doosan, Lot at SK
Kia's time is coming to an end. They have played the most games in the KBO at 119. Should stay in the playoff picture with a full 6 games above 5th place LG and an easy 3 game set against Doosan.
Saturday and Sunday, September 10 and 11: Han at SK, Kia at Bears, LG at Lions, Nex at Giants
Giants get an off weekend. Everyone else will be rallying for position.