Monday, September 8, 2008

9/5 - 9/7 Weekend Roundup

Hey! The Donga Ilbo wrote another bizarre Korean to English article! These make my day.

Olympic star, Nam Hyeon-hee, tossed out the first pitch at Jamsil Stadium on Sunday. It's hard to recognize her without the mask.

Meanwhile, Korean Olympic weightlifter, Jang Mi-ran, did the same thing at the Heroes game on Sunday. I'm assuming she snapped the mascot in half immediately after this photo was taken.

I know, I know. We've all been waiting for Park Tae-hwan to show up at a ballgame. Well, sadly, you missed it. He threw out one of the first pitches at last year's SK/Doosan Korean Series. I wouldn't be surprised if they did the same thing this year.

On to the round up...

LG vs. SK
9/5 - SK 4, LG 3 (11)
9/6 - SK 6, LG 1
9/7 - LG 6, SK 5

On Friday, the game was tied 3-3 at the end of 9, so the teams went on to extras. In the top of the 11th with one out, SK's Kim Kang-min drilled a deep fly ball to center. The centerfielder did a massive bellyflop, missed the ball and Kim was able to race to 3rd with a standup triple. The next batter, Jeong Sang-ho, drove Kim in with a base hit. SK's Kim Won-hyeong tossed uneventful 10th and 11th to earn the W. LG knuckleballer, Chris Oxspring had a nice game. Oxspring worked 8 2/3 innings(128 pitches, 79 strikes) allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks with 6 K's.

On Saturday, the difference was the pitching. SK starter, Chae Byeong-yeong, gave the Wyverns a quality start and the bullpen closed the door early on LG. LG's starter didn't make it out of the 4th inning and the bullpen was fairly mediocre. Chae worked 6 2/3 innings(101 pitches, 65 strikes) allowing 1 run on 4 hits and 3 walks with 6 K's. SK outfielder, Park Jae-hong had great day at the plate. Park was 3-4 with a walk, 2 doubles and 2 RBI. Kim Jae-hyeon also had a nice day at the plate for SK. Kim finished the day 2-4 with a walk, a double, a triple, 1 RBI and 3 runs scored.

LG narrowly avoided the sweep by rallying from 5 runs down in the last two innings to get the W. In the 8th inning, RBI doubles from Ahn Chi-yeong and Choi Dong-su made the score 5-2. A two-run bomb into left field by LG catcher, Jo In-seong, made the score 5-4 and put LG in striking distance. In the 9th inning, SK called on reliever, Jeong Dae-hyeon to close the door on LG. With 1 out and runners on 2nd and 3rd, LG 1st baseman, Seo Dong-wook, slapped a bouncer past a drawn in infield and into center. Both runners were able to score and prevent the sweep. After realizing the winning run had crossed the plate, Seo balled himself up at first base to avoid the beating from his teammates. He stayed in the fetal position for about a minute while his teammates kicked him in the ass.

The Heroes vs. Doosan
9/5 - The Heroes 12, Doosan 5
9/6 - Doosan 9, The Heroes 3
9/7 - Doosan 5, The Heroes 3 (11)

12-5 makes Friday's game sound close. The Heroes were up 8-2 in 7th inning of this one. Heroes 1st baseman, Jo Joong-geun, lead the charge by going 3-4 with a pair of doubles, 4 RBI and 1 run scored. Woori outfielder, Kang Jeong-ho also got in on the action by going 2-4 with a triple, 3 RBI and 1 run scored. The Heroes tagged just about everybody the Bears sent to the mound, but Matt Randel has to be a concern for the playoff bound Bears. Randel was battered for 7 runs and he failed to make it out of the 3rd inning.

Doosan took some measure of revenge on Saturday by clobbering The Heroes ace, Ma Il-yong. Ma didn't make it out of the first inning. He allowed 5 runs on 4 hits and 2 hit batsmen while only recording 2 outs. After Ma loaded this bases, Kim Dong-ju cleared them with a grand slam. Kim finished the day 2-3 with a walk, 6 RBI and 2 runs scored. Doosan starter, Lee Hye-jeon, was excellent on Saturday evening. Lee worked 7 shutout innings(104 pitches, 72 strikes) allowing only 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 7.

Is it just me or has Doosan played a lot of these extra inning games? This must have been torture for The Heroes. It's bad enough that they're an awful team, but making them play more than 9 innings in the last month of the season? That's just not fair. Doosan starter, Kim Sun-woo pitched well enough in this game. He worked 7 innings(92 pitches, 60 strikes) allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks with 1 K. My Hero, Shingo Takatsu, also made an appearance. He worked 1 2/3 innings. Scoreless, of course. In the 11th, Roh Hwan-su relieved Takatsu. He surrendered a lead off walk to Lee Jong-wook. Doosan 2nd baseman, Ko Yeong-min got Lee over to 2nd base on a sac bunt. Then, Kim Hyeon-su ripped a double into deep center to score Lee and give the Bears a 4-3 advantage. Lee Jong-ho was brough in to reliever Roh. Lee drilled the first batter he faced in the ass. He hit Kim Dong-ju. He had a large target. Then next batter, Choi Joon-seok, hit a slow bouncer to the short stop. Kim was able to scamper into second to avoid the force. With one out, the bases were loaded. Then, Yoo Jae-weong hit a flyball to deep left to score Kim. Doosan's Lee Jae-woo pitched an uneventful 11th and recorded the W.

Hanhwa vs. Samsung
9/5 - Hanhwa 3, Samsung 1
9/6 - Samsung 5, Hanhwa 3
9/7 - Samsung 2, Hanhwa 1

This was one of the most enjoyable series Samsung has played all year from a viewing standpoint. The team pitched well, fielded well and the games were all just a shade under 3 hours in duration. As a baseball fan, nothing makes me happier. Well, almost nothing.

Even when Friday's game was tied 1-1 in the 5th, I knew Samsung had no chance. Ryu Hyeon-jin was on the mound for Hanhwa and he pwns the Lions. Ryu was good, but a little wild. During his 8 innings of work(134! pitches, 76 strikes) he allowed only one run on 4 hits and 6(!) walks. He struck out 7 Lions. Brad Thomas tossed a scoreless 9th to earn the save. Hanhwa's MVP candidate, Kim Tae-gyun, clubbed a solo homer in the 4th to put Hanhwa on the board. Doug Clark drove in the go ahead run in the 5th with an RBI single.

On Saturday, Samsung leapt out to a 3-0, 1st inning lead thanks to a 3-run bomb from an individual named Kang Bong-gyu. Kang is filling in at first base for whoever it was that was injured. Yeah, it's been that kind of year. Hanhwa picked up a run in the 2nd and tied the game in the 3rd on a 2-run blast from outfielder Song Kwang-min. Samsung answered back in the 5th with solo homers from both Park Han-yi and Hyeon Jae-yoon. Oh Seung-hwan recorded the final 5 outs for yet another save.

On Sunday, solo homers accounted for all three runs scored by both teams. Hanhwa got on the board first with a solo bomb from 3rd baseman, Lee Beom-ho in the 2nd inning. Samsung took the lead in the 5th on solo homers from Park Seok-min and Son Ji-hwan. Samsung starter, Yoon Sang-hwan worked 7 2/3 innings(99 pitches, 68 strikes) allowing only 1 run on 2 hits and 1 walk with 9 K's. Oh Seung-hwan recorded the final 5 outs for the save. This was the 2nd day in a row that Oh has pitched more than 1 inning.

KIA vs Lotte
9/5 - Lotte 7, KIA 1
9/6 - Lotte 10, KIA 2
9/7 - Lotte 5, KIA 2

When you only score 5 runs in three days, it's going to be hard to win baseball games.

Lotte ace, Son Min-han, kept the Tigers off balance for 7 1/3 innings(88 pitches, 59 strikes) allowing only one run on 5 hits with 2 K's. While the mighty Giants offense battered foreign ringer, Kane Davis, during his 5+ innings(101 pitches, 55 strikes) for 6 runs on 12 hits and 5 walks. Somehow, Davis struck out two batters. At the plate for the mighty Giants, both Kim Joo-chan and Lee Dae-ho recorded 3 hits and 2 RBI's.

On Satuday night, the hits just kept on coming for the Giants. Lotte jumped all over KIA starter, Lee Dae-jin. The embattled Lee didn't make it out of the first inning. He recorded only one out while allowing 6 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks. Karim Garcia clubbed a 2-run bomb during the 1st inning rally. Garcia finished 2-4. Lee Dae-ho finished 2-4 with a double, 4 RBI and 1 run scored. Lotte starting pitcher, Lee Yong-hoon, took full advantage of the early cushion. Lee cruised for 7 innings(98 pitches, 59 strikes) allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks with 2 K's.

On Sunday, it was more of the same for KIA. Mediocre hitting plus poor starting pitcher is not a winning formula. Lotte battered KIA pitcher, Seo Jae-weong, for 5 runs during his 4 innings of work. Lotte 2nd baseman, Jo Seong-hwan connected for a 3-run homer in the 2nd inning. Jo finished the game 3-5 with 4 RBI. On the mound for Lotte, Jang Won-joon cruised for 8 1/3 innings(102 pitches, 65 strikes) allowing 2 runs on 6 hits and 1 walk with 3 K's. Foreign sensation and TSKB(True Stories of Korean Baseball) favorite David Cortes recorded the final two outs for his 3rd KBO save in as many tries.

Before the Olympic break, the Giants were looking burned out. The bats just didn't seem as quick. Since the Olympic break, this team has been on a roll. The Giants are 5-1 in the month of September and 11-1 overall. This team is a legit championship threat right now.

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