After four games were rained out yesterday, today’s KBO slate was loaded up with nine games on the schedule. Both games in the doubleheader between Lotte and Kia were rained out again, leaving seven games to be played around the league. Kiwoom swept their doubleheader against LG, and NC and Doosan split their doubleheaders with KT and SK. Hanwha and Samsung were the only teams to just play once last night, and the Eagles picked up a rare 9-2 win.
Miss some of the action from last night? Click on the link below to watch!
Hur Kyung-mim (3B, Doosan Bears): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB (Game 1). This was Hur’s second game back in the lineup after missing much of June with a finger injury and he looked better than ever, blasting two home runs in Doosan’s win. These were Hur’s first two home runs of the season, and he is now batting over .300 on the year.
Kim Jae-hwan (LF, Doosan Bears): 3-5, HR, 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB, SB (Game 1). The Doosan left fielder has been locked in over the last few games, tallying nine hits and seven walks in his last 26 plate appearances. Last night was more of the same for the 31-year-old veteran as he showed off all five tools in an impressive performance.
Kim Kyung-ho (CF, SK Wyverns): 4-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI (Game 1). Kim was traded from Doosan to SK on May 29 and made his first start for the Wyverns in a revenge game last night. Despite a Wyverns loss, Kim stuck it to his former teammates with a smooth four-hit night at the dish.
Jung Eun-won (2B, Hanwha Eagles): 2-4, HR, 3B, R, 4 RBI, BB. Hanwha put together arguably their best nine innings of the season last night in a commanding 9-2 win over Samsung. Jung was the offensive catalyst for the Eagles in this one, getting things started with a two-run dong in the first and following that up with a 2 RBI triple in the second.
Oh Tae-gon (LF, KT Wiz): 2-2, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI (Game 2). After dropping 19 runs on the first place Dinos, I could have picked names out of a hat to determine who from the Wiz would make this column and odds are he would have been worthy. Oh gets the nod for coming off the bench in the seventh inning and making the most of his opportunity. In three plate appearances Oh was hit by a pitch, doubled, singled, drove in two runs, and scored every time he reached base.
Mel Rojas Jr. (RF, KT Wiz): 3-6, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI (Game 2). Last night Rojas homered in the eighth inning for his fourteenth of the year to overtake Roberto Ramos for the league lead. Rojas is now hitting .385 and is sitting on his one hundredth career KBO home run.
Choi Jeong (3B, SK Wyverns): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI (Game 2). Choi has been a silver lining in what has been a difficult season for SK thus far. The third basemen is batting for a lower average than last season but is now leading the team in home runs with eight after his third-inning blast last night.
Park Byung-ho (1B, Kiwoom Heroes): 1-4, HR, R, 4 RBI (Game 2). Park Byung-ho was not having a good game last night. He was 0-3 with three strikeouts through eight innings, just one at-bat away from the infamous golden sombrero. With runners on second and third down by one in the ninth, Lee Jung-hoo was intentionally walked to load the bases and bring Park to the plate. The LG manager would immediately regret that decision as he watched Park crank a 1-0 fastball over the right-field wall for a grand slam to give Kiwoom the lead and propel them to victory.
Turns out choosing to face a guy who has 3 HR in his last 3 games with the bases loaded in the 9th was not a great idea by the #LGTwins.
— Connor Newcomb (@ConnorNewcomb_) June 25, 2020
Cha Woo-chan (LG Twins): 6 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 7 K, 2 BB. Cha ruled the day, putting up the best pitching performance in a double-header packed schedule on Thursday by throwing six frames of one-hit ball en route to a no-decision in Game 2 of the double-dip. Unfortunately for the 33-year-old lefthander, his bullpen gave away his lead and ultimately the game despite his efforts. His lone hit allowed came off the bat of Kiwoom’s leadoff hitter in the first inning — a single by second baseman Seo Keon-chang — after which he shut down the Heroes allowing just two walks the rest of his outing. Cha’s record remains at 4-3 while his ERA and WHIP both deflated a bit to 4.98 and 1.47, respectively, which he now sports along with 44 strikeouts in 47 innings pitched, tying him for tenth in the KBO in Ks.
Moon Seung-won (SK Wyverns): 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 7 K, 2 BB. Moon had a heck of a day himself, just barely getting edged by Cha as our top performer. The 30-year-old right-hander tossed seven innings of scoreless ball while striking out seven and walking two to lead the Wyverns to a Game 2 shutout win over the Bears. He escaped trouble early after a pair of two-out walks in the opening inning, keeping Doosan subdued until the sixth when back-to-back one-out singles put a runner in scoring position; a fly-out and a strikeout ended the threat with no damage done. Moon’s record improves to 2-3 with the win for the lowly Wyverns, and he now has a 3.23 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP to go along with 52 strikeouts — fourth-best in the Korean league — in 53 innings pitched this year.
Kim Bum-soo (Hanwha Eagles): 6 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 7 K, 3 BB. Hanwha’s Kim turned in a performance worthy of a bronze medal on Thursday by taming the Lions over six innings, allowing his Eagles to snatch the victory. The 24-year-old left-hander earned himself a quality start and the win, and also matched our daily high score for strikeouts with seven. After a 1-2-3 first frame, he found trouble in the second, loading the bases with just one out on a single and two walks before ending the threat with a strikeout and a grounder back to the pitcher. It was smooth sailing from there until the sixth when he got tagged for two runs on a single, a double and a walk, thus ending his day. Kim is now 2-4 on the year with a mediocre 4.34 ERA and a bloated 1.66 WHIP while striking out 28 in 29 innings pitched.
Bae Je-seong (KT Wiz): 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 4 K, 3 BB. Bae gets the honorable mention today with a commendable outing — albeit it in a losing effort — against the first-place NC Dinos, throwing a quality start and keeping his Wiz in play in a tightly contested matchup. While the scoreboard shows that he was outdueled by NC’s Mike Wright, the 23-year-old right-hander kept the juggernaut team at bay over six frames, though his offense was only able to muster a lonely run which just was not going to be enough on Thursday. The Dinos jumped on him early, getting their only two runs off of him in the first on a two-run homer that followed a lead-off single and a fielder’s choice. Bae’s record falls to 3-2 with a 3.91 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP to go along with 31 strikeouts in 53 innings pitched.
Friday’s Key Matchup
Dan Straily (Lotte Giants) vs Won Tae-in (Samsung Lions): Friday’s matchup of the day should be a good one, with former major leaguer Dan Straily matching up with a young Won Tae-in in a battle between two teams in the middle of the standings. Straily, a 31-year-old veteran who previously played for the Baltimore Orioles in 2019, comes into the game second in the KBO with 62 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings — just three behind Pitcher List favorite Koo Chang-mo — along with a 1-2 record as well as a 2.10 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP in 2020. On the mound opposite of him, Won is a 20-year-old right-hander in his second year of professional ball and so far he has done quite well, bringing a 4-2 record along with a 3.19 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP into his ninth start of the year. Given how evenly the teams match up tomorrow, this is one to keep an eye on.
-graphic by Justin Paradis