This year, the fall baseball season has moved away, but it is not disappointing. With the 2023 professional baseball season nearing its end, the Hanwha Eagles are drawing hope by promising “the beauty of the end.” Hanwha swept all four consecutive away games in Gocheok with a 9-8 victory over the Kiwoom Heroes on September 10. It was the first time in 20 years that Hanwha swept the series held in four consecutive games since 2003. Including the match against the SSG in Daejeon on the 6th, the team has won six consecutive games. The monthly winning rate in September was 8 wins and 2 losses, tied for first place overall with the NC Dinos among the 10 clubs.
With 26 games left in the regular season, Hanwha is in eighth place with 50 wins, 6 draws and 62 losses (.445). The gap with the top five is 10 games, making it difficult to play in autumn baseball, but the elimination of the last place in four years is virtually certain. Hanwha was three games behind Samsung (51 wins, one draw, and 69 losses) in ninth place, and seven games behind Kiwoom (51 wins, three draws, and 77 losses). Kiwoom, the bottom, has only 13 games left, and even if it wins all games, Hanwha is ahead of Kiwoom in the final winning rate even if it records only a 50% winning rate (13 wins). In addition, the gap with Lotte (55 wins and 63 losses), which has been on the decline in the second half, is close to two games, so Hanwha can aim for up to seventh place. For Hanwha, the best ranking and winning rate since the 2018 season (3rd place, 77 wins and 67 losses, .535), when it last advanced to fall baseball. 토토사이트
Hanwha suffered the humiliation of last place for three consecutive years from the 2020 season to last year. If the scope has been expanded since 2008, when the dark ages began in earnest, it has only entered autumn baseball once (2018) in the past 15 seasons, but the last place has been stigmatized as the “worst club in professional baseball history” due to the prolonged dark ages.
This season also fell to the bottom from the beginning, and coach Carlos Subero was replaced after failing to fill the last year of his contract. If he finished last again this year, he could have added the second-longest tie in KBO history after the Lotte Giants (2001-2004) and the rare record of “last in the first single-digit season.”
However, Hanwha launched a counterattack by reorganizing the team under the new coach Choi Won-ho system. At one point in July, he continued his eight-game winning streak, narrowing the gap with the top five to two games, reviving hopes for autumn baseball. Although the gap widened again in the second half due to a lack of endurance, Hanwha, at least after the summer, was no longer a multiplier vending machine where opponents could guarantee victory.
Hanwha was only equal to KT with eight wins and eight losses in the last 2022 season, when it finished last just a year ago, and all eight other clubs were inferior. Among them, 5 teams were treated as a neighborhood drum with a winning rate of less than 20 percent and 12 losses.
However, except for Kiwoom (8 wins, 1 draw, and 6 losses), there was no dominant team this year, but there was no team that was unilaterally pushed back as in previous years. In particular, they faced the top teams more evenly with six wins, one draw and six losses against LG, the first and second teams in the league, and five wins, one draw and five losses with KT. Hanwha has not yet allowed double-digit losses, and Doosan, which has allowed the most losses, has a winning rate of 6 wins and 9 losses (.400).
This further means that Hanwha may become a casting boat for the rest of the game rankings this season. Currently, with No. 1 LG continuing its dominance in professional baseball, the battle for second place is fierce, with four teams, including KT-NC-KIA-SSG, biting within two games. Hanwha has five games left with KT, the most, and four games left with NC (4 wins, one draw, seven losses, and inferiority). It is two games against SSG (5 wins, one draw, and eight losses), and one game against KIA (6 wins, one draw, and eight losses).
It is also encouraging that the long rebuilding’s achievements are gradually shining. Big gun Noh Si-hwan has emerged as a strong candidate for MVP this season, and Moon Dong-joo in his second year has emerged as a candidate for Rookie of the Year. Noh Si-hwan is breaking his career high this season by taking the lead in home runs (30), RBIs (96) and slugging percentage (.563) categories. He is also likely to break through his first .300-30 home runs and 100 RBIs. However, there is a strong competitor named foreign pitcher Eric Pedi (NC), and the absence due to his participation in the national team at the Hangzhou Asian Games is a variable.
Moon Dong-joo is one of the pillars of Hanwha’s native starters with 8 wins and 8 losses and a 3.72 earned run average. Moon Dong-joo is currently fiercely competing with Yoon Young-chul (8 wins, 6 losses, 4.19) for the once-in-a-lifetime Rookie of the Year award. It is the first time in 17 years that Hanwha has produced both MVP and Rookie of the Year at the same time since Ryu Hyun-jin (Toronto), who swept both categories by himself after appearing in a comet in 2006.
On top of that, Hanwha’s Moon Hyun-bin, who emerged as a new “new star” in the infield in 2004, is showing remarkable growth by taking advantage of Jung Eun-won’s absence from injury. On the mound, the first to third starters from Felix Peña and Ricardo Sanchez’s foreign one-two punch to Moon Dong-joo took over. In addition, while winning six consecutive games, bullpen members Park Sang-won, Jang Min-jae, Lee Tae-yang, Jung Woo-ram, Joo Hyun-seung, and Kim Bum-soo blocked the back door well in harmony. It shows that Hanwha Baseball is recovering its “winning mentality” enough to catch a game that can now be won.
For other teams, the failure to make it to the fall baseball league usually means just a failed season. You may think that the 6th to 10th places that can’t play in autumn baseball are meaningless and that’s all. However, for Hanwha, which has been suffering for a long time, the difference between one win and one place in the rankings is more meaningful. Hanwha’s “Buddhist Bodhisattva” fans have been taking a small comfort by watching the future of the team, which is “more expected tomorrow than today” for the first time in a long time since 2018.