‘ML 3rd’ Kim Ha-Sung hasn’t struck out in 23 at-bats… With nowhere to throw, he’s bound to hit multiple home runs.

Ha-Sung Kim (28, San Diego Padres) hasn’t slowed down since the All-Star break. His second-half OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) is a staggering 1.125. Behind the fearsome No. 1 hitter’s performance is a forethought and relentless contact that leaves pitchers with nowhere to throw.

Starting at first and third base in the 2023 Major League Baseball home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Petco Park in San Diego, California, USA, on 25 May, Kim went 3-for-4 with two doubles (two home runs), three RBIs, two runs scored and one walk.

His leadoff homer in the first inning, the third of his major league career, was followed by a two-run shot in the fifth inning to give him his first two-homer game since his big league debut in 2021. He went on to hit .270 with 14 homers, 37 RBIs, 53 runs scored, 18 doubles, a .363 on-base percentage, a .447 slugging percentage and an .810 OPS in 96 games, making the 20-homer, 20-double season for an Asian infielder seem like a pipe dream.

The backbone of his incredible second-half performance was an astonishingly elevated approach. After drawing 38 walks while striking out 73 times in the first half, Kim has drawn more walks (seven) than strikeouts (six) in the second half. It wasn’t just players with bad pitches. Detroit Tigers right-hander Alex Paedo, who had given up two walks to Kim the day before (24 April), has a good command of his pitches this season with 1.2 walks per nine innings. However, he gave up a series of walks to pitches that were even slightly outside the strike zone that Kim rarely swung at.

The batting stats show that Kim is a tricky opponent. Kim’s 4.40 pitches per at-bat was second in the majors, behind only Ryan McMahon (Colorado Rockies) at 4.42. In this ranking, which changes from game to game, Kim was never far from the top and rarely outside the top three at any point.

There are other records that indicate a recent upswing. According to Major League Baseball statistician John Anderson, Kim had one of the longest strikeout streaks of the season. He had already struck out 23 times in 23 at-bats, tied for third in the majors with Luis Camposano (San Diego) and John Berti (Miami Marlins), behind Tony Kemp (Oakland Athletics) with 31 and Mike Torkman (Chicago Cubs) with 24.

Pittsburgh pitchers struggled on this day, too. With nowhere to throw, multi-homer games were inevitable. The victim of the day was Quinn Frist, who was selected by Pittsburgh with the 18th overall pick in the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft. In his first at-bat of the game, Kim didn’t touch a pitch outside of Frist’s strike zone. It would have been 0S3B if the umpire hadn’t called a pitch half a pitch away for a strike. With the count against him, the fourth pitch, a 92.8-mile-per-hour fastball, flew into the middle of the plate and Kim lined it over the left-centre wall for a 117.9-metre solo shot.

In his second at-bat, he retired on a grounder to shortstop, but he fought through a full count of six pitches, all low pitches. In the fifth, with one out and two on, he hit another arching shot to left-centre field. Down to two strikes, he swung at a low curveball and missed a four-pitch, 83.8-mph slider that fell just short and cleared the fence.카지노사이트

In the seventh, he drew a walk against Carmen Mozinski. Mozinski, whose pitches were all over the place, was easy to handle. She was unfortunate to be caught stealing second base.

Meanwhile, San Diego fell to Pittsburgh 4-8 despite a strong outing from Ha-Sung Kim. Starter Darvish Yu fell apart early, giving up seven runs on eight hits (four homers) in 4 1/3 innings with three walks and three strikeouts. The game was scoreless until the fifth inning, when Kim Ha-seong homered. San Diego, which lost its second straight, dropped to 48-53 on the season and remained in fourth place in the National League West.

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