In a confrontation between two players who had enough experience in the KBO League, Ha-seong Kim (28‧ San Diego) laughed with a cool home run. With the long-awaited home run, the first major feat in the history of Asian beasts is also beginning to come into view. However, the problem is the performance of the team that cannot laugh together.스포츠토토
On the 20th (Korean time), Ha-seong Kim played the first third baseman in a double header game against Arizona held at Petco Park in San Diego, California, and hit his 16th home run of the season in his first at bat in the bottom of the first inning. It was his first home run in 15 games after hitting his 15th home run of the season against Colorado on August 3.
In fact, the match schedule itself was confusing that day. Hurricane Hillary is expected to hit southern California around the 21st. Accordingly, the Major League Secretariat decided to hold a double header by pulling some games on the 21st to the 20th. San Diego and Arizona and Gyeonggi Province were one of them. In fact, the ‘invasion’ of hurricanes in Southern California at this time is enough to be called an extreme weather event. The players had to play an unscheduled double header.
While the game started earlier than expected, in the first game, San Diego gave up two runs from the start of the first inning, and the game ended with difficulty. However, it was Kim Ha-seong who changed the game. In the first inning, Arizona starter Merrill Kelly’s 90.8 mile (146 km) four-seam fastball on the second pitch hit the lead-off home run, turning the bat like a thunderbolt without missing the comparatively centered center.
Kelly, who is active as Arizona’s second starting player, is a familiar player to KBO league fans as he played for SK (now SSG) for four years from 2015 to 2018. After signing a 4-year contract with Arizona in 2019, he has been on a winning streak and is picked as a “reverse export myth”. Kelly and Ha-seong Kim faced a total of 29 at-bats in the KBO League, and Ha-seong Kim had a rather weak opponent. However, after entering the major leagues, Kim Ha-seong often hit against Kelly and even had a home run. This day too, Kim Ha-seong started with a smile.
San Diego balanced the game at once by pulling out a solo shot from Ha-seong Kim in the first inning followed by Manny Machado. But that was it. With Kim Ha-seong no longer on base, San Diego lost 4-6 after being pushed in a power struggle in the middle of the game, giving up the most important game in the double header. Waldron, who started as an alternative starter on the hastily scheduled doubleheader schedule, was sluggish with 5 runs in 5 innings, and the other line could not make up for it.
Kim Ha-seong also left a regret as he failed to add any hits or walks, including one strikeout, in the remaining four at-bats. As for the batting line, Machado struggled with 2 hits and 2 RBIs, but many hitters were silent. On the other hand, Kelly recovered after allowing two runs in the first inning and prepared for his 10th win of the season with three runs in 5⅓ innings.
The two games that followed were games that San Diego must catch. Originally, on the 20th, Meryl Kelly and Darvish Yu were scheduled to face off for the starting match. Kelly played one game and Darvish played two. In other words, for Arizona, two games were substitute starting games. However, the San Diego batting line was silent, and Darvish, whom he trusted, was sluggish with 9 hits and 4 runs in 5 innings, and the game was misguided.
Kim Ha-seong also went out as a starter and second baseman, but could not fulfill his role as a leadoff, staying with no hits and one walk in three at-bats. The line was serious. The star lineup of Nos. 1 to 4, which consisted of Kim Ha-seong, Tatis Jr., Soto, and Machado, remained 0-for-13 in total and was unable to use their strength. Bogatz had 1 hit and 1 RBI, and Cronenworth had 2 hits, but the entire lineup only had 5 hits.
Kim Ha-seong, who played all two games a day without substitution, recorded a total of 8 at-bats, 1 hit and 1 walk. His batting average dropped from 0.281 to 0.278, breaking the 2.8 mark. It is the first time since August 1 that Ha-seong Kim’s batting average has fallen below 0.280. He also dropped 3 runs from 0.372 to 0.369 on base percentage. However, the home run in the first at-bat of the first game was positive.
Kim Ha-seong has already successfully stolen 27 bases. This year’s revision of the rules and expansion of base size made it easier to steal bases, and Kim Ha-seong, who is fast-footed, is making good use of this. His total number of stolen bases over the past two years was 18, and he has surpassed that figure in just one season this year. And he’s hit 16 homers as well, leaving four homers now in the 20-20 club.
If he can continue his current home run pace without injury, Kim Ha-seong is expected to record the final number of home runs of around 20. Although the pace of long hits has slowed down a bit recently, there is a good chance that this graph will show an upward trend in the future. If so, he is the third Asian player to join the 20-20 club after Choo Shin-soo and Ohtani Shohei.
Choo Shin-soo recorded his first major feat in 2009 when he was a member of Cleveland, recording 20 home runs -21 steals, and then joined the 20-20 club for the second consecutive year in 2010 with 22 home runs -22 steals. And he reached his third record with 21 home runs and -20 stolen bases in 2013 with Cincinnati. However, after that, even though he reached the 20 home run mark four times, he was unable to rejoin the 20-20 club as he got older and the number of stolen bases fell.
The most recent Asian player to achieve this is Ohtani Shohei, who achieved an astonishing record of 46 homers and 26 stolen bases in 2021. He recorded 43 home runs and -17 stolen bases this year as well, so he is likely to join the 20-20 team. However, neither Choo Shin-soo nor Ohtani recorded 20 homers or 30 stolen bases. If Kim Ha-seong adds 4 more home runs and 3 more stolen bases, he writes the first major feat in the history of an Asian player. It is a face that is possible enough.
Even so, the reason why I can’t smile is because of the team’s performance. Arizona is a district rival, and also a rival in the wild card race. Prior to the game on this day, the game difference was 3 games. If they dominated the doubleheader, San Diego could catch up with Arizona by one game. However, with the worst double header 2 losses in a row, the game gap widened to 5 games. Currently, San Diego is 7th in the wild card race. The gap between them and the 3rd placed Chicago Cubs is 5.5 games, and the outlook is gradually getting darker.