It makes me wonder why this is happening. Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego Padres), who ran like a runaway locomotive in the first half of the year, has been on a clear decline since mid-August. Nevertheless, he stole second base in just one chance and showed his still Gold Glove-level defense, proving why he is worthy of being a starter despite his sluggish batting.
Ha-seong Kim started as first and second basemen in the 2023 Major League away game against the Oakland Athletics held at the Coliseum Stadium in Oakland, California, USA on the 16th (Korean time) and recorded no hits in five at-bats, one walk, and one stolen base.
As a result, Ha-seong Kim’s season batting average, which had once hovered around 0.280, fell to 0.266, and his OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) also dropped to 0.764. His batting average in the last 30 games is just 0.200, which is .200. It seems like the aftereffects that caused the ‘Awesome Kim’ syndrome throughout the first half of the year are finally appearing. In the game on the 13th, he was excluded from the game for the first time in 49 days and took a break, but he has not yet recovered as he allowed no hits in two consecutive games on the 14th and 16th.
In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, a local media outlet in San Diego, on the 14th, Ha-seong Kim said honestly, “The season is really, really long. I’m working on my body,” and added, “I will stay fresh, play at a high level, and help the team win.” “I’m trying to do everything I can to help. I feel like maintaining my physical strength is my job,” he pledged.
Instead of leadoff getting tired, table setter partner Fernando Tatis Jr. was in full swing.
Starter Seth Lugo also recorded a quality start with 5 hits (2 home runs), 1 walk, 7 strikeouts, and 3 runs in 6 innings, leading San Diego to an 8-3 victory. Xander Bogaerts, Matthew Barton, and Jose Ajocar recorded multiple hits and helped Lugo to 7 wins (7 losses).
Struggling against lefties with an average speed of 149 km/h, striking out with no bases loaded, and even hitting a double play… Ha-seong Kim has no hits in 11 consecutive at-bats.
The pitcher he faced that day was left-hander Sean Newcomb, whose average speed was 149 km/h. An ordinary 7-year pitcher who was released last year after recording an ERA of 8.78 in 20 games and is currently recording an ERA of 0.75 in 6 games (12 innings) in Oakland this year. However, Ha-Seong Kim struggled against Newcomb.
Ha-Seong Kim, who retired with a straight hit to center field in his first at-bat in the first inning, had a chance to load the bases with no outs in the second inning. In a situation where Newcomb’s balls were scattering all over the strike zone, the balls that came in the middle could not be converted into correct hits and were busy being cleared. In the end, on the 7th pitch, the bat missed a high ball outside and he struck out, leaving a regret.
The person who alleviated that disappointment was Tatis Jr., who was next in line to bat. Tatis Jr., who gave the team the lead with a solo shot to right-center in his first at-bat in the first inning, gave the team a 4-0 lead with a timely hit with two RBIs into the right-center field of the outfield in the second inning with the bases loaded.
On the other hand, Ha-seong Kim was thrown out due to a double play even with no outs on first base in the 4th inning, pouring cold water on the team’s upward trend. Meanwhile, Oakland followed up with a run each in the second and third innings, and San Diego continued the tense game with San Diego leading 5-2 when Luis Campusano added a timely hit with an RBI in the fifth inning with one out and runners on first and second base.
Ha-seong Kim did not miss a single opportunity to steal a base… Even the elegant turning throw defense that defeated Oakland.
However, he proved with his base running and defense why he is a starter despite his recent prolonged slump. Ha-seong Kim reached base with a straight walk against pitcher Adrian Martinez, who was replaced with one out in the 6th inning. Soon after, he comfortably stole second base, recording his 36th stolen base of the season. He is already only four away from stealing 40 bases, the most by a Korean in a season and the first by an Asian infielder.안전놀이터
The game was stopped for a moment because there was a scene where it seemed like the ankle was slightly twisted while stealing, but Ha-seong Kim signaled that it was okay and the game resumed.
In his 8th at-bat, he was struck out due to a missed swing, but he played his part by showing fantastic defense despite a slightly uncomfortable ankle. A ground ball hit by Oakland’s Ryan Noda with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning hit the pitcher’s foot and bounced toward second base. It was a batted ball that changed suddenly, but Ha-seong Kim caught it with his backhand, jumped up, and made a turning throw to catch the runner at first base. He demonstrated excellent defense showing why he is a strong candidate for the Gold Glove. Naturally, exclamations came from the local broadcasters as well.
San Diego, riding on momentum, secured an 8-3 victory in the top of the 9th inning when Ajocar hit a three-run wedge with 2 outs and runners on first and second base.