The series is tied 2-2
W - Jang Won-joon (1-0), L - Yoon Hee-sang (0-1), S - Kim Sa-yul (2)
Lotte HR - Lee Dae-ho (1)
SK HR - None
Lotte played this game like it was an elimination game. This strategy makes sense because they, well, were playing an elimination game.
Chris Bootcheck got the start for Lotte, but only stuck around for 3 1/3 innings(44 pitches, 26 strikes). Bootcheck only gave up two hits and two walks while striking out two. He was yanked after walking a batter in the fourth inning. Lotte ace Jang Won-joon was the odds on favorite to start Game 5, but he'll likely be unavailable because he threw four innings(52 pitches, 32 strikes) of shutout relief work. Jang gave up one hit and one walk while striking out five.
The strategy to use Jang in game four will only really look foolish if Lotte looks awful in game five. Lotte was at the point where they needed to use everything they had to prevent being eliminated and they did. The problem I had was that if you're going to use Jang, why not just start him? He might as well be used in the role that he's spent six months of the season playing instead of tossing him into relief.
Lotte broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning during a fairly bizarre sequence. Second baseman Cho Seong-hwan lead off the inning by trying to bunt for a hit. SK pitcher Yoon Hee-sang fielded the ball cleanly, but the throw was well wide of the bag and ended up in right field. Cho advanced to second on a sac bunt from shortstop Moon Gyu-hyeon. Left fielder Kim Ju-chan singled to center and advanced to second on the relay, but Cho made a break for home, but was out by about three feet for the second inning. Right fielder Son Ah-seop poked a single through the left side of the infield to drive in Kim and score Lotte's first run of the game.
The Giants added some insurance in the sixth inning when Lee Dae-ho hit a solo homer to make the lead 2-0.
Lotte closer Kim Sa-yul gave up a walk and a hit, but struck out two during a scoreless ninth inning for the save.
Lost in this one was a solid effort from SK starter Yoon Hee-sang. The journeyman tossed five innings(71 pitches, 50 strikes) of one-run ball. Yoon gave up six hits and one walk while striking out six.
The series comes back to Fortress Sajik for Game 5 on Saturday at 2 PM Busan time. SK will send struggling ace Kim Kwang-hyeon against Lotte's Song Seung-joon to see who will have an opportunity to face Samsung in the Korean Series.