Friday, October 12, 2007

Round 1, Game 3

Eagles 5, Lions 3
Eagles win the series 2-1

This game was almost over before it started. Lions' starter, Brian Mazone, was chased from the game after only 2/3 of an inning. His final line was 3 hits, 1 walk and 2 earned runs. Everything over the plate was hit hard and every thing off the plate was ignored. Lions' manager, Sun Dong-Yol, took him out before the game was out of hand. The Eagles started Cedric Bowers, a pitcher who had been in and out of the starting rotation all season. He was about as effective as Mazone was, but Samsung was unable to inflict as much damage on the scoreboard as the Eagles could.

This game was your typical 4-hour Korean grindfest. You could fall asleep for an hour and not miss anything in this one. The two teams combined to use 12 pitchers. 8 of them used by Samsung. This game was slow and fairly dull for a playoff game. Play was stopped so much that there was never any flow to the game. It felt like a big, ugly mess, but it wasn't without its highlights.

Samsung had to battle all night to keep the game close. The same problems that plagued Samsung during the regular season came back to haunt them in the playoffs. The Lions are excellent at getting runners on 1st and 2nd with less than two outs, but terrible at actually plating them. Samsung did make a game out of it and even managed a great fake rally in the 9th. I had the feeling during this one that Samsung was always an inning away from the bullpen opening the floodgates. It never really flooded, but a pair of solo homers made the Lions more than a little soggy.

In the 6th inning, Hanwha turned to game one star, Ryu Hyon-Jin, to close the door on Samsung. After looking dominant in game one, he looked very mediocre in game three. He had trouble finding the plate and left a few pitches up in the zone. Samsung was more than willing to let him off the hook and he was able to escape with only allowing one run in 3 1/3 innings of work.

The hero: Lee Bum-Ho of Hanwha. He hit .556 in the series, including the nail-in-the-coffin homerun in game 3 off Oh Seung-Hwan.

The goat: Brian Mazone. He looked awful.

Hanwha could pack its bags for Seoul and Samsung could pack its bags for home when: Lee Bum-Ho hit his 7th inning homerun to put Hanwha up 4-2. It took all the air out of the Lions fans in attendance.

The playoffs head to Seoul where the rested and ready Doosan Bears will face the Hanwha Eagles in a best of 5 series. Game 1 is set for 10/14 at 2pm Korean time.

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