Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Samsung 5, Softbank 3

Samsung wins the Asia Series

W - Jang Won-sam, L - Sho Iwasaki, S - Oh Seung-hwan
Samsung HR - None
Softbank HR - None

I'm thrilled to see the KBO finally knock the NPB off their pedestal, but this Asia Series was completely underwhelming. Samsung didn't have their full pitching staff and we saw a lot of backups getting heavy playing time. The SoftBank Hawks were in a similar state with their non-Japanese players sent home and their top two pitchers are currently free agents. This year's tournement was probably the weakest from a talent perspective since it's inception. That being said, someone still had to win it and I'm very happy it was Samsung. It's been a five year wait for KBO fans and it feels really good to have it end.

SoftBank drew first blood in the first inning with a RBI double from third baseman Nobihiro Matsuda. On the previous play Samsung right fielder Park Han-yi needed to be carted off after sustaining a leg injury on a diving catch.

Samsung answered back in the top of the fifth inning with a five-run(!) rally. Samsung right fielder Jeong Hyeong-sik came into the game in the first inning when Park was taken off. Jeong came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. He poked a single back through the middle to drive in a pair and give the Lions a 2-1 lead. Samsung pushed it to 3-1 with a ground-rule double from third baseman Park Seok-min. With two outs and runners on second and third, Samsung left fielder Kang Bong-gyu hit a sharp grounder to short. The ball ricocheted off of shortstop Munenori Kawasaki and into left field. Both runners scored on the play to give Samsung a commanding 5-1 lead.

Softbank answered back in the eighth inning. With runners on first and second with no outs, Samsung brought in closer Oh Seung-hwan to get them out of the jam. Oh promptly gave up an RBI single to SoftBank center fielder Seiichi Uchikawa to load the bases. Nobuhiro Matsuda grounded into a double play, but the runner on third managed to score to cut the lead to 5-2. Outfielder Yuya Hasegawa singled back up the middle to cut the lead to 5-3. Oh managed to get Kenji Akashi to end the inning.

The Samsung offense was quiet in the top of the ninth, so it was up to Oh to hold on to the 5-3 lead. Oh struck out the first two batters in the top of the ninth and got Munenori Kawasaki to ground out to end the game.

Samsung starter Jang Won-sam was really, really good last night. Jang threw 6 1/3 innings(100 pitches, 69 strikes) of one-run baseball. Jang gave up only five hits and one walk while striking out three. He was really effecient and did his best work on the inner part of the plate. It looked like the SoftBank Hawks didn't like getting busted inside.

Next year's series will take place in Korea at Jamsil Stadium. I, for one, think this is the silliest idea I've ever heard. The KBO needs to build a modern baseball facility before it can be allowed to host a tournement like this. Jamsil is fine, but it's not a stadium anyone would pay money to go to in November.


CanadianDoosanFan said...

I agree...Jamshil is way too old...time for a new MODERN baseball stadium.

Goulip said...

Can't disagree with that!!

LastnameKim said...

"I'm thrilled to see the KBO finally knock the NPB off their pedestal".- It's always great to see Korea beat Japan in international play!
But I thought Korea has been ranked higher than Japan in the IBAF rankings for some time now (at least for two years now?).