I didn’t realize the hole was so big. The SSG Landers are feeling the absence of foreign hitter Guillermo Heredia (32) acutely.
SSG lost 4-8 against the LG Twins in Incheon on April 18, snapping a four-game losing streak. On the same day, third-place KT Wiz also lost to the Hanwha Eagles to stay in second place, but with 55 wins, one draw and 45 losses, the gap between them and first-place LG (63 wins, two draws and 37 losses) widened to eight games.
The only comfortable moment in this game was when starter Kirk McCarty was on the mound. McCarty pitched six innings of six-hit ball, striking out six and walking none to earn his third straight quality start and 13th of the season. But after he went down, the bullpen struggled to get through even one inning and eventually gave up three home runs in the 12th inning to lose the game.
Most frustrating was the offense. Outside of Shin-Soo Choo, no one had a multi-hit game, and they totaled just four hits. In particular, the fifth through ninth batters didn’t have a single hit and became a resting batting order. At some point, opposing teams began to pick off one or two of SSG’s hitters who were having a good day.
Choi Joo-hwan in the 6th inning and Kim Kang-min in the 11th inning were two examples. Choi had hit a three-run homer off LG starter Choi Won-tae in the fourth inning and came to bat again in the sixth inning with runners on first and second and third. The LG bench wasted no time in picking off Choi, who then gave up a sacrifice fly to Kang Jin-sung and got Kim Sung-hyun to fly out to center field on a wild pitch to get out of the jam with one out. In the 11th, with two outs and Ha Jae-hoon on second, Kim Kang-min, who always hits when it counts, came to the plate and chose another automatic high pitch and struck out Lee Jae-won on three pitches to end the inning.
The SSG batting lineup lost some weight when Heredia, a foreigner, went down with a left front thigh muscle (iliopsoas) sprain on April 4. Heredia joined SSG this season coming off a league-leading .332 (108-for-325) batting average with 11 home runs, 58 RBI, 50 runs scored, 10 doubles, a .396 on-base percentage, a .492 slugging percentage and an .888 OPS in 85 games.
Mostly, he batted in the bottom four spots to bring runners into scoring position, batting .318 with runners in scoring position. Heredia was a big part of SSG’s leadoff struggles, ranking fifth in the league with a 3.01 WPA (Wins Produced) per Baseball-Reference. Since his departure, however, SSG has been one of the league’s worst hitters with a team batting average of .239 and an OPS of .625, leaving them with a 5-7 record in 12 games and a worrisome fall schedule.
The good news is that his recovery has been quicker than expected. When the initial injury report was posted, he was expected to take four weeks to recover and even longer to play. He was expected to return in September’s expanded roster, but we could see him with the first team in late August. Heredia, who was known as the belly of the beast within SSG for being an atmosphere maker in the dugout as well as on the field, was eager to return.메이저놀이터
“Compared to the MRI at the time of the injury, the results showed that more than 90% of the muscle damage had been repaired,” said an SSG official. “He is recovering quickly due to his good physical ability and high determination. He is currently running and traveling in Tibet, and if there are no problems with his rehabilitation, he is scheduled to play in a second team game around the end of next week.”