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Nine Straight Losses For Samsung

Posted May. 17, 2004 22:20,   


It has taken less than half a month for the favorite to become an underdog.

Samsung fell into a slump, tying the longest losing streak in the team`s history with nine. They were evaluated not to be at, full strength, but still they have suffered a horizontal drop that no one expected. Much shock has followed.

Samsung could have stood on top of the league if they could have held on for a victory against Hyundai on the 5th with the team leading 8-3 at the bottom of the 8th inning and waiting for the victorious moment right in front of their eyes. But Samsung allowed a grand slam and let Hyundai turn the tide with an unbelievable comeback. After the loss, Samsung suffered series of losses and, on the 16th, the team fell humiliatingly into last place for the first time in seven years.

It would be like sitting on a pincushion for any party of the Samsung Lions, but like most team members, first-year manager, Coach Sun Dong-Yul, can’t get to sleep at night. Sun joined the team with much fanfare, but is going through a bitter first-year experience.

“I appease myself with a shot of Soju," he commented.

He has led his players with overwhelming enthusiasm, with an unacceptable team record, he would rather hide in a hole. Seven straight losses were the most the HaiTae team, which Sun played for in his prime, had ever lost in a row.

Head coach Sun pointed at the play of the team ace`s and its core batters to be the main factors behind the team’s poor showing. His face often blushed as he explained his team’s struggles from breakdowns on the mound without the team even receiving the “Sun Dong-Yul Effect." He also has had to suffer from the criticism of his responsibility of adopting foreign pitcher Hoghes, who has recorded five losses without a win in eight games. But coach Sun insisted that his match luck didn`t come along and that he had no thoughts of substituting for Hoghes. He also commented he didn`t feel much emptiness from the triple-batters of Lee Seung-Yup, Ma hae-Young and Britto, who have collected the team’s 114 home runs.

Above all, he indicated that the balance of pitching and batting was the main issue as he commented, “Whenever the pitchers perform well, the batting line struggles, and whenever the batting is on the way, the mound collapses so we always eventually end up losing by an inch."

Within the period of nine straight losses, Samsung`s team batting average was .258, which is less than season average of .277. The team’s ERA of 7.60 also stands much higher than season record of 5.49. Bullpen management has drawn criticism as the team has utilized strategies of substituting bunches of relievers like “Human wave Tactics” In the 10 games in which the team recorded one draw and nine losses, 45 pitchers stepped on the mound, which averages to 4.5 pitchers per game.

These days, Coach Sun brings out a bat before matches and implements practice popups with the fielders and exchanges throws with the pitchers with his glove on to emphasize mental strength. “When you lose, you lose but you need to have guts. I feel a loss and emptiness of toughness rather than talent.”

Samsung plays against Kia in a three-game home stand starting from the 18th. The team is primed to escape from its losing slump.

Coach Sun commented, “I will have to take this as a good lesson from the first team in charge. Once we earn our first win, team atmosphere will get better.”

When will coach Sun, who tries to look as reserved as possible, regain his grin?