Hanwha and NC Continue to Struggle

Error message

Warning: file_get_contents(http://m.sports.naver.com/baseball/record/index.nhn) [function.file-get-contents]: failed to open stream: HTTP request failed! HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found in include_once() (line 3 of /www/npaul.godohosting.com/sidestandingsfixed.php).

Here we are a week and a half into the season and one of the biggest stories has been the season-opening losing streaks of the Hanwha Eagles and NC Dinos. As of today, Hanwha stands at 0-8 with NC coming in at 0-6.

Hanwha has been at or near the bottom of the league dating back several seasons now, but this year they seem to be even worse than usual. Their pitching staff is off to a terrible start, coming in with a league-worst 7.49 ERA. They must really be missing Ryu Hyun-Jin this year. Hanwha's offense, while not nearly as bad as the pitching, isn't anything to write home about either. Their eight losses have included a number of blowouts, including a 12-1 loss to KIA. Stats only tell part of the story. The team looks defeated, no confidence, no enthusiasm.

Photo courtesy of MK SportsPhoto courtesy of MK Sports

The NC Dinos situation is a bit different. As the newest addition to the league, having moved up from the Future's League (more or less the Minor League of Korea), they were expected to struggle a bit this year. They've even been allowed a third foreign player to compensate for this. Their pitching has been better than Hanwha, but that's not exactly a major accomplishment. Their defense has been a considerable weakness so far. They currently lead the league in errors and unearned runs. The major difference though is that, being a brand new team, there is still a lot of excitement surrounding the Dinos. No one expected them to make the playoffs their first year in the league, and there are plenty of reasons to believe that the team could improve and be competitive within a few years. Hanwha, on the other hand, is a bad team that appears to be getting worse. It's hard to find any positives there.

The big question is, which team will break their losing streak first? There's a poll going on at Naver Sports asking this very question. Current total is 49.2% for NC, 41.4% for Hanwha and 9.4% of voters predicting they will both win on the same day (note that poll results could change as more votes come in). I am inclined to agree with the netizens on this one, in fact I'm surprised that the margin isn't bigger. If you have to choose based on what we've seen so far, NC looks like the better less bad team.

On the bright side, it's still very early in the season. It's certainly not too late to turn things around (although I wouldn't bet on it). Both teams are still several games away from the KBO all-time record for a season-opening losing streak, which was 12 games, set by the Lotte Giants in 2003. Going beyond Korea, the 1988 Baltimore Orioles lost their first 21 games of the season. So it's a bit early to start talking about all-time worst, but I would encourage both teams to win a game or two soon so we can avoid having that discussion.

Another bright spot is that these two teams will play each other next week, with the series beginning April 16 in Daejeon. So at least one of these teams will be able to put a mark in the win column soon (unless of course they manage to tie).