Day six of the KBO is in the books! Sunday’s games had a little bit of everything – a blowout, a high scoring extra-innings affair, and a winning streak brought to an end. The SK Wyverns were delivered their 3rd straight loss, while the Kiwoom Heroes have made it 3 victories in a row.
Miss some of the action from last night? Click on the links below to watch!
Now let’s take a quick look at some of the day’s top performers:
Preston Tucker (RF, Kia Tigers): 5-5, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2R. Tucker continued his all out assault on KBO pitching last night, collecting 2 homers on 5 hits and raising his AVG to .476 in the early going. His 6 RBIs accounted for half of the Tigers’ 12 runs on the day. Just an excellent day at the dish for the American expat.
Sun-bin Kim (2B, Kia Tigers): 3-5, 3 RBI, 3R. Tucker wasn’t the only Tiger raking in this game. Kim went 3 for 5 while driving in 3 runs and scoring 3 of his own. Kim and Tucker are off to very hot starts, both sporting OPS north of 1.200. Looking like a lethal combo in the top third of the Tigers lineup.
Roberto Ramos (1B, LG Twins): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB. Ramos showed off his power stroke in this one, cranking 2 solo homers (his first 2 of the season) and taking a walk in the Twins’ 10-8 victory. The former Colorado Rockie is off to a nice start so far in his debut KBO season (.450/.500/.850) and he has even managed to so far cut down on his massive K% that plagued him in the MLB (down to 18.2% in 2020 from 28% in 2019). The slugger is looking locked in at the cleanup spot for the Twins.
Yoo Kang-nam (C, LG Twins): 3-4, HR, 3 RBI, R. The Twins backstop was off to a slow start through his first 4 games, but that changed on Sunday. Yoo knocked in 3 runs on 3 hits, and hit his first home run – a solo shot – in the young season. The 27 year old catcher is looking to rebound from somewhat of a down year in 2019, posting a .772 OPS after a healthy .860 mark in 2018. He’ll need more games like this one if he wants to accomplish that.
Sung-bum Na (DH, NC Dinos): 3-5, RBI, 2 R. It was a nice game for the designated hitter, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Dinos’ undefeated season alive as they fell to the LG Twins. The Dinos didn’t go down without a fight though, putting up 8 runs, 2 of which were scored by Na. With the off day on Monday, Na and the Dinos will look to get back in the win column on Tuesday against the last place KT Wiz.
Dixon Machado (SS, Lotte Giants): 1-3, HR, 2 RBI, R. It didn’t take much offensive firepower to handle the SK Wyverns on Sunday, but the former Detroit Tiger managed to drive in 2 runs out of the 7 hole. Machado has settled right in to his new home in the KBO, smacking 3 home runs, 8 RBI, and a stolen base to go along with his .389/.450/.889 triple slash. He and the undefeated Giants will take on the Doosan Bears on Tuesday.
Sung-woo Jang (C, KT Wiz): 2-3, HR, 5 RBI, R. It was a heartbreaking loss in extras for the Wiz, who managed to put 12 runs on the board thanks in large part to Sung-wo0 Jang. The catcher hit a 3 run homer in the 2nd inning and collected 2 more RBI before the day’s end. Jang hasn’t managed to have an above average season to date, so the early days of 2020 are quite encouraging.
Jae-gyun Hwang (3B, KT Wiz): 3-6, HR, 1 RBI, 3 R. Hwang knocked in his first homer of the year on Sunday, scoring 3 runs for the 1-4 KT Wiz. Hwang is so far off to another great start in 2020 after posting double digit home runs and steals in 5 of his last 6 KBO seasons for the Lotte Giants and KT Wiz. Had he not played stateside in part of 2017 for the San Francisco Giants, he very well may have done it in 6 straight.
Jose Miguel Fernandez (DH, Doosan Bears): 4-6, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R. In 5 games so far this season, Fernandez has been an absolute force in the batter’s box. Although he only managed to hit his first home run on Sunday, Fernandez’s triple slash line of .591/.591/.864 has been video game-level of good. Entrenched in the #2 hole for the Bears, Fernandez is already looking to have a highly successful sophomore season in the KBO.
Jared Hoying (RF, Hanwha Eagles): 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R. Things may not have worked out for Hoying in the MLB with the Rangers, but in his 3rd KBO season Hoying is looking quite productive. In his 2 full seasons in Korea, Hoying piled up 48 homers and 45 stolen bases for the Eagles. He hasn’t been hot out of the gate in 2020 (.208/.240/.333) but hopefully Sunday’s performances is indicative of things to come for the outfielder.
Byeong-wuk Lim (CF, Kiwoom Heroes): 1-4, 2 RBI. The Heroes made it 3 straight wins on Sunday, thanks in part to Lim’s bases loaded, 2 run double that capped off a difference-making 5 run inning for Kiwoom. After a disappointing 2019, the 24 year old outfielder will look to recapture his production of 2018, when he slashed .293/.327/.468 with double digit home runs and steals for the Heroes.
Dan Straily (Lotte Giants): 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 11 K, 0 BB, 0 HB, 94 pitches. Aces gonna ace? It’s definitely too early to say that, but man, I have missed hearing that phrase thus far in 2020, so I’m going to throw it in here. This was the second start of the year for the former Major Leaguer, and it may very well end up as one of the best starts from any pitcher in the KBO this year. Straily was simply average in his first start last week, giving up 2 runs in 5.2 innings while walking three and striking out just four. This time, however, Straily was sensational, and was working right from the beginning, as he opened up the game with 4 consecutive strikeouts. This was Straily’s first 10+ strikeout game since 2017, and I am so here for the Straily comeback tour. If Straily does more of this in the future, he could perhaps find himself back on a Major League roster at some point.
What a start from Dan Straily of the Lotte Giants.
7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 11 K, 0 BB
He was electric today. Here’s all 11 strikeouts for the former MLBer. pic.twitter.com/ZvM7esALFJ
— Connor Newcomb (@ConnorNewcomb_) May 10, 2020
Warwick Saupold (Hanwha Eagles): 6 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 5 K, 1 BB, 103 pitches. Saupold, the Australian-born former Detroit Tiger, followed up his complete-game shutout on Opening Day with another solid start. The stat line won’t jump off the page, especially compared to Straily’s performance, but he did add to his scoreless innings streak, topping off at 14.2 innings before a run for the Kiwoom Heroes in the fifth inning. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Saupold’s start wasn’t enough. He was laboring as he went out for the seventh inning and as he was approaching 100 pitches. He gave up three runs (although one was unearned), and the bullpen gave up an additional three, as well as the lead following his exit. So far, so good for Saupold in 2020 though, and he’ll look to keep up his hot start in his next outing.
Hyun-jong Yang (Kia Tigers): 6 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 3 K, 1 BB, 84 pitches. Hyun-jong Yang lasted just three innings in his first start of the 2020 campaign, giving up four runs against the Kiwoom Heroes, a team that has gotten off to a fast start this year. Pitching for the second time, this time against the Samsung Lions, this should have been a more favorable matchup for the 32-year-old. Indeed it was, as he posted a very efficient stat line getting through 6 innings in just 84 pitches. The Lions’ offense managed just two solo home runs as their only meaningful offense against Yang, as this game was the night’s biggest blowout, Tigers grabbing an easy 12-3 victory, with the Lions offense continuing to struggle in the early part of the season. With Yang being the team’s ace pitcher, this was a good sight to see after a rough Opening Day, and hopefully, for the Tigers, he continues to pitch more like the pitcher he was a season ago when he had a 2.29 ERA.
Young-gyu Kim (NC Dinos): 5 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 4 K, 0 BB, 83 pitches. The rest of the day’s slate of games were not exactly pitching gems, although Kim’s performance against the LG Twins was clearly the best of the rest. This was the first start of the season for the 20-year old Kim, and for the most part, he held his own with a fine performance. This was a wild game, with most of the action taking place after Kim’s departure. The Dinos took an early 6-0 lead, but the Twins kept chipping away, with Kim giving up two solo home runs that seemed harmless enough at the time, and after allowing one more run in the fifth, his day was done at 83 pitches. Perhaps if Dinos manager Dong-wook Lee knew what was going to happen with his bullpen later on, he maybe would have stuck with Kim for another inning or two. That’s baseball. Overall, a fine 2020 debut for the young pitcher, who showed a lot of promise in this one, notably coming up big with a strikeout to end his day against Roberto Ramos, a hitter who has gotten off to a hot start in 2020:
— NC Dinos UK (@NCDinosUK) May 10, 2020
Tuesday’s Key Matchup
Raul Alcantara (Doosan Bears) vs. Jun-won Seo (Lotte Giants): There aren’t any games on Monday, and probable pitchers have yet to be formally announced for Tuesday’s batch of games, so I was left with trying to piece together the probable pitchers for what should be the best matchup of the day. The Giants have started off the season undefeated and now meet the league’s reigning champions in the Bears in the first game of a three-game series. The Bears have gotten off to a 3-2 start, and are coming off a wild extra-innings victory against the KT Wiz in a slugfest 13-12 victory. This should be an entertaining series and a nice way to kick off the week’s slate of games. For the Bears, Alcantara gave up three runs in six innings in his first start of the season against the LG Twins, and Leo pitched six strong innings for the Giants in his first start of the season, giving up just one unearned run in six innings in the May 6th victory against the KT Wiz.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)