They're still the worst team in South Korean baseball by a substantial margin, but the Samsung Lions are finally showing some signs of life.
They went 5-1 last week, by far their best stretch of the 2017 Korea Baseball Organization season. That they're still at 12-29-2 (wins-losses-ties), 10th in the 10-team league and five games behind the ninth-place Hanwha Eagles, illustrates how horrendous their start was.
Lee Seung-yuop of the Samsung Lions rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Hanwha Eagles in their Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon on May 21, 2017. (Yonhap)
They won a three-game series for the first time this season last week, taking two out of three against the SK Wyverns from Tuesday to Thursday. Then in the weekend series against the Hanwha Eagles, the Lions completed their first sweep of the season.
While the pitchers held their ground -- posting a 4.08 ERA for the week, compared with the 5.79 ERA for the season -- the Lions did it with their bats.
They homered in five of the six games last week, all of them ending in victories, and two key sluggers combined for four long balls.
Lee Seung-yuop, playing in his final KBO season, went 7-for-22 with a pair of home runs and five RBIs. He has raised his batting average from .274 to .281, and now has seven homers and 23 RBIs.
The latter of the two homers from last week was the 450th of his career.
Former major leaguer Darin Ruf also enjoyed a productive week, batting 8-for-25 with two homers and six runs knocked in.
Ruf has been a completely different player since returning from a stint in the minors. He was batting only .150 with two homers and five RBIs before the Lions sent him packing to the minors, out of hopes that he'd recapture the stroke that produced 35 big league home runs, including 14 in 73 games with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2013.
Since rejoining the Lions on May 2, Ruf is batting .338 with four home runs and 12 RBIs.
And the Lions will need all the help they can get from the middle of their order. They still have the lowest batting average from their Nos. 3-5 hitters at .250. Last week, though, their meat of the lineup batted .306. (Yonhap)