The No. 13 is considered an unlucky one in many cultures, including in South Korea, and the country’s top baseball league is no exception.
The Hanwha Eagles on Sunday lost their 13th straight game to start the 2013 season in the Korea Baseball Organization, setting the record for the longest slide to start a season.
The Lotte Giants lost 12 in a row to begin the 2003 season, but they’re now out of the record books after the Eagles were blanked by the LG Twins 8-0 at home in Daejeon.
The Eagles gave up a run after just two pitches in the top of the first inning Sunday, and that was really the microcosm of their frustrating season.
LG’s leadoff man Oh Ji-hwan hit a double off Hanwha starter Kim Hyuk-min on the first pitch of the game.
Then on the next pitch, Lee Dae-hyung put down a sacrifice bunt, but Kim’s wild throw to first allowed speedy Oh to score.
Lee Jin-young hit a sacrifice fly later in the first inning to make it 2-0.
And those two runs proved to be more than enough, as LG’s Woo Kyu-min threw a five-hitter for the first complete game shutout of his eight-year career.
A lot would have to go wrong for a baseball team to lose 13 consecutive games.
The Eagles have been as complete a disaster as there can be in the sport.
In the three-game series against the Twins, the Eagles gave up 19 runs and scored just two.
Counting three earlier games against the Samsung Lions from last Tuesday to Thursday, the Eagles have allowed 40 runs in their past six contests. Opponents are batting .315 off Hanwha pitchers this season.
Their offense has done little for the hapless pitchers, with a KBO-worst 32 runs scored in 13 games.
As a team, the Eagles have just one home run, by Kim Kyung-eon. Other than Kim, 37 different players have hit a long ball this season.
The Eagles have hit into a KBO-worst 14 double plays, two of which came with one out in the second and fourth innings of Sunday’s game.
They’ve drawn the fewest walks, with 30, and have struck out the most, 106 times, which have translated into a league-low .308 on-base percentage.
After their ninth straight loss last week, Hanwha players and coaches all got buzz cuts, a common practice for Korean pro sports teams in a funk, as they tried to show solidarity in the face of adversity.
Yet the team has lost four more games in a row after the haircuts. Now within sight is another dubious record: the KBO’s longest losing streak at any point in a season.
The Sammi Superstars, a former incarnation of the Nexen Heroes, dropped 18 straight games in 1985. (Yonhap News)