The All-Star Game festivities are over. Now comes the second half, which promises to be more intense than ever. The first half of the season ended with a two-way tie for first place, but the last spot changed hands, creating a typhoon in the middle of the pack. After being stuck in last place for the past three years, Hanwha has climbed up and is now in everyone’s sights for the postseason.
It’s no longer a ‘win vending machine’. It’s not like they can go 2-1 in a three-game series and expect a three-game sweep. The overall record in the first half is 34 wins, 40 losses, and 4 draws. Since Choi Won-ho took the helm on May 12, they have 23 wins, 21 losses, and three draws, a winning percentage of more than 5 percent.
More than anyone else, Hanwha’s opponents have felt the difference in the team’s performance. As if speaking in unison, LG manager Yeom Kyung-yup and KT manager Lee Kang-chul said, “It’s really difficult. First of all, their pitchers are good, so it’s hard to score runs.” “Hanwha is on the rise, and there’s not a single team that’s easy to beat.”
In fact, since Choi took over, Hanwha has only lost to Doosan (0 W, 2 L) and Kiwoom (2 W, 3 L, 1 D). They have three wins, three losses and one draw against second-place LG and two wins, two losses and one draw against SSG. They have a plus-2 win-loss margin against KT (2-0), NC (3-1), and KIA (4-2).
But in the second half, they got stronger. After building a top starting lineup of Felix Peña, Ricardo Sanchez, and Moon Dong-joo in the first half, the second half will see another 150-km pitcher join the lineup. Super rookie Kim Seo-hyun is waiting to join the first team after throwing over 90 pitches in the Futures League.메이저놀이터
The foundation of baseball is the starting pitching matchup. If a strong starter can consistently pitch into the sixth inning, wins will naturally follow. Since Choi’s arrival, Hanwha has ranked fourth in the league with a 3.90 starting ERA. While the fourth and fifth starters have been shaky, the top of the lineup has led the way.
Add to that the fact that Kim Seo-hyun is starting, and you’ve got a big button to push if he can replicate the form he showed earlier in the season as a middle reliever, when he threw eight consecutive scoreless innings. From Peña to Sanchez to Moon Dong-joo to Kim Seo-hyun, pitchers throwing 150 kilometers per game will put a lot of pressure on the opposition just by starting four days in a row.
If Kim Seo-hyun lands in the starting lineup, that leaves one spot open. Han Seung-hyuk is in the rotation, but Jang Min-jae is also waiting in the wings. If one of them takes over the final five spots and both struggle, the team will invest in prospects like Jung Yi-hwang, Park Joon-young, and Nam Ji-min, who have been rotating in the Futures League.
At the end of the first half, we were 2.5 games out of the last postseason spot. The first half of the season used to be the end of their season, but this year they’re still in the race, and everyone is afraid of Hanwha. Hanwha is heralding a new era ahead of the 2025 season, the start of the new stadium era.