Park Chan-ho looks like he's going to stay in the rotation for now. At least until Brad Penny makes his return.
The Joongang Daily offers up some criticism of Centennial Investment and the current, erm, issues it's experiencing. I agree with the article, but the KBO was desperate for an 8th team. The fact that anyone was willing to join the league after the KBO screwed up 3 seperate negotiations was very fortunate.
KIA vs Samsung
7/4 - KIA 11, Samsung 0
7/5 - KIA 5, Samsung 4
7/6 - KIA 4, Samsung 3 (15)
Wow. A bad weekend to be a Lions fan. Thank god there aren't any of those around here (Matt sobs softly). A pantsing followed by two one-run losses. This after about a week of competent play.
The story on Friday wasn't really the 11 runs. It was KIA starter Lee Beom-seok. Lee threw a 0ne-hit, 4 walk shutout. It took Lee 122 pitches with 77 of them for strikes. Lee also struck out 9 baby Lions. KIA's #9 hitter had himself a night. 2nd baseman, Kim Jong-guk finished 5-5 with 2 doubles, 3 RBI and a run scored.
In Saturday nights game Samsung actually recorded a hit. Actually, they hit 4 of them this time. Felix Diaz pitched better than his statistics indicate. He seemed to run out of gas during a 4-run Samsung rally in the 6th inning. KIA's Kim Won-seop hit an RBI double in the top of the the 7th to give KIA the lead. KIA's Na Ji-won came up big for the Tigers. Na finished the night 3-4 with a homer, a double, 3 RBI and two runs scored.
I honestly thought Sunday night's game would still be going on today. On Sunday nights my family usually calls from Chicago around 10:30 PM. This was the first time I remember a baseball game almost running into my parents phone call. Both offenses were equally awful. Both teams went 7 consecutive innings without scoring. KIA went from the 2nd inning to the 15th without scoring. There were a lot of zeroes on the scoreboard. In the top of the 15th with one out, Na Ji-won drew a walk and was replaced by pinch runner, Lee Jong-beom. Jang Sang-ho hit a grounder to the second baseman and Lee was forced out at second, but he broke up the double play. Then with two outs, Jang stole second base and Chae Jong-beom drew a walk. Kim Joo-hyeong came on to pinch hit for the Tigers and did just that. He drove a pitch into left-center for an RBI single and a KIA lead. KIA reliever, Yoo Dong-hoon, tossed a scoreless 15th to finish the victory.
SK vs Hanhwa
7/4 - Hanhwa 3, SK 1
7/5 - Hanhwa 7, SK 4
7/6 - SK 4, Hanhwa 3
SK faced Ryu Hyeon-jin again on Friday night and Ryu was true to form. The Eagles ace tossed 7 2/3 innings(123 pitches, 75 strikes) allowing 1 run on 6 hits and 3 walks. He recorded 12 K's on the night. SK starter, Kenny Ray, was effectively wild. He walked 6 batters in 6 innings, but only allowed 3 hits. One of the hits was a two-run homer from Hanhwa catcher, Shin Kyeong-hyeon. Shin finished the game 3-4. It took Brad Thomas only 5 pitches to record the last two outs and nail down the save.
Saturday was more of the same, but at least this time SK held a lead. Thanks to a 3-run 3rd inning rally, SK was actually in a position to win, but the Hanhwa offense had other ideas. The Eagles scored runs in 4 consecutive innings to take a 6-3 lead. SK offered a fake rally in the 6th, but Hanhwa responded with another run in the 7th to keep the Wyverns at a distance. Brad Thomas struck out two in the 9th to record his 18th save. Hanhwa slugger, Kim Tae-won, gets the game ball for going 2-3 with a double, a homer, 3 RBI and 2 runs scored.
On Sunday, SK simply decided they were winning and that was that. No matter how poorly Kenny Rayborn pitched, they were winning. Kenny wasn't that awful, but he was usually in trouble during his 5 innings of work. He allowed 4 walks and 4 hits, only two of which stayed in the park, but somehow, he as still the pitcher of record when he left the game. The SK bullpen worked their magic for the last 4 innings and managed to hang on to record SK's 53rd W. The game ball goes to SK catcher, Park Kyeong-won. Park finished 2-4 with 2 RBI and 1 run scored. He clubbed a 2-run bomb in the 2nd to put SK on the scoreboard.
LG vs Lotte
7/4 - Lotte 7, LG 0
7/5 - LG 6, Lotte 2
7/6 - Lotte 4, LG 1
Friday night was a dominating effort from the Lotte offense and Lotte starting pitcher, Jang Won-joon. Jang threw 8 innings(103 pitches, 64 strikes) of shutout baseball. He allowed only 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7. Karim Garcia had a two homer night. He clubbed a solo shot in the 2nd and struck again with a 2-run bomb in the 4th. Foreign, erm, guy, Marty McCleary pitched the 9th inning(I guess he lost his starting role, but still has to bring the pretzels to Jerry Royster's poker game) and allowed as many hits in one inning as Jang did in 8.
I have no problem admitting that I openly cheer for Chris Oxspring. He throws a knuckleball. I will always respect the knuckler. Chris had it fluttering for 7 innings(104 pitches, 63 strikes) on Saturday. He allowed 1 run on 5 hits and 4 walks with 1 K while recording his 8th victory. The only run he surrendered came on a solo homer from, you guessed it, Karim Garcia. The LG offense took a 2-0 lead in the 2nd inning with a 2-RBI double from catcher, Kim Jeong-min. LG piled on for a 4-run rally in the 8th to put the game out of reach.
Lotte sent their ace, Son Min-han, to the hill on Sunday. He was every bit the ace he's been all season. Son went 7 strong innings(94 pitches, 62 strikes) allowing only 1 run on 5 hits and 1 walk. He struck out 6 Twins on the day. Karim Garcia didn't homer on Sunday, but he did drive in two runs on an RBI single during a 3-run 4th inning rally. His hit proved to be the difference in the game as the Lotte pitching staff and defense cruised to another series win.
Woori vs Doosan
7/4 - Woori 8, Doosan 0
7/5 - PPD
7/6 - Doosan 4, Woori 2
What's the best way to celebrate paying your expansion dues? By scoring 8 runs during a shutout! Woori, erm, ace(?) Ma Il-yeong worked 7 shutout innings(82 pitches, 48 strikes) allowing only 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 2. Ma recorded 10 outs on the ground. The 8-run outburst was a team effort. Only one Woori regular didn't record a hit and he scored two runs. Leadoff man/DH Jeon Joon-ho went 0-4 with a walk and 2 runs scored. Lee Sung-yong and Lee Taek-geun both had 2 RBI's on the night. Nothing remotely good happened for Doosan, but Doosan starter, Lee Won-jae worked 8 innings during the blowout and allowed all 8 runs. Way to take one for the team, Lee.
Saturday's game was a plot from Centennial Investment Co. to get out of paying the KBO. Or as I like to call it, a "rainout."
Doosan was able to think about what they had done for an extra day, thanks to the rain out, and they didn't enjoy it! Doosan came out firing with a 3-run rally in the 1st inning! Bears slugger, Kim Dong-ju, a two run bomb to get the rally started right and Hong Seong-hoon followed with a solo shot. Doosan recieved adequate starting pitching from foreign ringer, Matt Randel and cruised to an easy W. Randel threw 5 innings, allowing 1 run on 7 hits and 1 walk with 3 K's. Doosan closer, Jeong Jae-hoon, thew a 1-2-3 9th to nail down the W.