I've got some catching up to do with the local sports rags. The Joonang Ilbo has been especially busy. First, they wrote this fluff profile on Rick Guttormson. I would have at least mentioned the drug testing.
The all-star game balloting has opened. Thrilling.
The games are taking longer this year.
Lee Ji-mo has signed with the LA Dodgers. I'm not sure what to make of this. He's finished his military service and Lotte is desperate for pitching. Hmmm, he's either got talent or he slept with someone's daughter and he wants to escape the country.
If you read this piece, you'd think Ryu Hyeon-jin was completely awful. He's had a few rough starts, but alarm bells aren't ringing. I'm not going to worry until there's a decline in his K numbers. I'm willing to chalk this up to bad luck.
On to the roundup...
Seoul Heroes 7, Doosan 2
W - Lee Hyeon-seung (6-3), L - Kim Sun-woo (5-4)
The Heroes must have noticed something about Kim Sun-woo and catcher Yong Deok-han. The Heroes stole 7 bases in this game. 6 of them came with Kim and Yong as the Doosan battery. In the 5th inning, the Heroes center fielder Jeong Su-seong stole home. Kim Sun-woo threw a pitch that was neither a pitchout or a regular pitch. The catcher was in position for a pitch out, but the ball went 5 feet over the umpires' head. It was just bizarre. Heroes 3rd baseman Hwang Jae-gyun stole 4 by himself, but he didn't score a single run. That's tough to do. It wasn't the stolen bases that doomed Kim Sun-woo, it was the homers. Kim surrendered a 2-run bomb to catcher Kang Gui-tae in the 4th inning and slugger Cliff Brumbaugh hit a solo shot in the 5th inning. Heroes starting pitcher Le Hyeon-seung was able to cruise for 6 innings(99 pitches, 59 strikes). He allowed 1 run on 6 hits and 4 walks while striking out 3.
KIA 5, SK 2
W - Aquilino Lopez (2-2), L - CJ Nitkowski (0-2), S - Yoo Dong-hoon (1)
I, for one, can't wait for the 5 paragraph blog post from CJ about how he pitched well in this game, but still got stuck with the loss. It hasn't happened...yet, but I'm maintaining a 24-hour watch on his blog. It's going to be epic. I don't care how he rationalizes it this time. Allowing 3 of 4 runners to reach base is not a good outing, especially when its 2 walks and 1 HBP. That's how guys get released.
Senor Smoke has been difficult to figure out. He's looked either great or awful, but not much in between. He looked like a legit ace last night. Lopez tossed 8 innings(112 pitches, 68 strikes) of 2-run baseball. He allowed only 6 hits, 1 walk and 1 hit batsman while striking out 4. Ken Kadokura enjoyed a solid effort, but a lack of offensive support and a shaky SK bullpen(I'm looking at you, CJ) cost him a decision. Kadokura tossed 6 1/3 innings(118 pitches, 73 strikes) of 2-run baseball. He allowed 4 hits and 4 walks while striking out 6. With the score tied 2-2 in the 7th with 1 out, CJ Nitkowski was brought in to keep KIA off the board. He hit the first batter he saw in the thigh and he walked 2nd baseman Kim Jong-kuk. The look on the SK's manager's face when he allowed the walk was priceless. It appeared to say, "If I reported this guy for swine flu, would they deport him?" CJ got a ground ball for the 2nd out, but SK only got the force out at 1st, instead of the double play. CJ promptly walked Choi Hee-seop to load the bases and was removed from the country, erm, the game. KIA's Kim Sang-hyeon drilled a Yoon Gil-hyeon offering into center field and drove in the go-ahead runs. I was surprised to see Yoo Dong-hoon throw the 9th inning for KIA. He threw a scoreless inning to earn the save, but I was wondering where Yoon Seok-min was.
Hanhwa 8, Samsung 3
W - Ahn Yeong-myeong (3-3), L - Bae Yong-su (1-7)
Bae Yong-su surrendered solo homers to 2 of the first 3 batters he faced. He's awful and I feel old. If this were a softball team, guys would be telling him, "You know, next year you might want to try an easier league." Center fielder Kang Dong-woo and DH Kim Tae-wan both hit a pair of homers. Hanhwa starter Ahn Yeong-myeong pitched about as well as he usually does, but the anemic Samsung offense helped him out more than they should have. Ahn tossed 5 2/3 innings of 2-run baseball. He allowed 4 hits and 3 walks while striking out 4. This game was an absolute snooze to watch. Between the Lions being completely awful and Carlos Quentin suffering a hell injury, this has been a rough season for me. Moving on...
Lotte 6, LG 5
W - Lee Yong-hoon (2-3), L - Rick Bauer (0-1), S - Jon Adkins (10)
Rick Bauer! Welcome to the KBO! The Rick had a rough first outing, but probably won't be sent home...yet. He threw 5 innings(89 pitches, 59 strikes) and surrendered 4 runs. He allowed 7 hits and only 1 walk while striking out 5. Karim Garcia gave Rick a rude reception. The Lotte slugger hit a solo homer off of the KBO newcomer in the 4th inning. I think Bauer could fill the Chris Oxspring/innings eater role for this LG rotation. Anything more would be asking too much. 6-5 makes this game sound closer than it really was. If it weren't for a few fake rallies in the late innings, this game could have been 6-3. Lotte starting pitcher Lee Yong-hoon was solid, but not spectacular. He tossed 6 innings(90 pitches, 52 strikes) 0f 3-run baseball. He allowed 6 hits and 3 walks while striking out 4. Jon Adkins recorded a 5 out save, but looked shaky during a fake rally in the 9th inning.