Lotte’s steep rise to the top of the table in April and May has come to a screeching halt in June. In June alone, they were last among the 10 clubs with 5 wins, 11 losses, and a 0.313 winning percentage in 16 games. They even lost the ‘top three’ spot to their neighbors NC, dropping to fourth place, so they may have been in desperate need of a change of scenery. The Lotte boss is already convinced that the tide is turning.
“I think the team is on the upswing 안전놀이터 based on our recent performances,” Lotte manager Larry Sutton said on Tuesday ahead of a three-game midweek series against KT in the 2023 KBO League at KT Wiz Park in Suwon. He said he saw encouraging elements and signals in recent games.
On Monday, the team was determined to use the break to turn things around. “We had a good rest yesterday,” Sutton said. It was a good day of rest, mentally and physically,” Sutton said. “I had a meal with the guys and we talked about things we haven’t talked about in a while.”
He believes the foreign one-two punch will put the team in a good mood. He also praised the pitching of Charlie Barnes last week and expressed his excitement for Dan Straily. Barnes started against Literature SSG on April 18 and pitched seven innings of five-hit ball with two walks and four strikeouts, leading the team to a 7-2 victory.
“The difference between his last two or three starts was definitely his aggressive attack of the strike zone,” Sutton said. “His first-pitch strike rate was much improved, and he showed command to put all of his pitches in the strike zone, and he was able to work the count to his advantage and keep their hitters off-balance,” he said.
“In addition to Barnes’ pitching, if you look back at last week’s three-game series against SSG, two of the three games were very good performances by our guys,” he said. “Even though we didn’t end up winning, Saturday’s game was very encouraging and there were a lot of positive things to take away from it, but Sunday was a good performance and a win, so I think the team is on the right track again. We’re going to keep the momentum going this week.”
He was also excited about his starting pitcher, Streeley. Streeley is 3-5 with a 4.72 ERA this season. However, in his most recent start, he was pulled from the game against Hanwha on April 14 after giving up six runs on seven hits (including two home runs) in four innings with three walks and three strikeouts.
“I’d tell him to throw like Barnes,” Sutton said. “I’m not talking about results, I’m talking about being aggressive in the strike zone like Barnes, because if you get the first pitch, you’re going to get ahead in the count, and then you’re going to be able to match pitches and stuff,” Sutton said.