Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego Padres) hit a cool home run off his former KBO opponent Merrill Kelly (35, Arizona Diamondbacks).
Kim started at first base and third base in the first game of the 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) doubleheader against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Petco Park in San Diego, California, U.S., on Tuesday (Feb. 20) and went 1-for-4 with a solo home run in the top of the first inning, including a walk, one strikeout, one RBI and one run scored.
Kim led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo shot over the left-center field fence on a 90.8 mph (146.1 km/h) two-seam fastball off Meryl Kelly. Bat speed 101.3 mph (163 km/h). Flight distance 115 meters. Kim’s fifth leadoff home run of his MLB career. It was his 16th home run of the season in 15 games, after hitting one against the Colorado Rockies on March 3.
With the home run, Kim moved one step closer to becoming the first Asian infielder to join the 20-homer, 20-stolen base club. Kim now has 27 stolen bases. Only two other Asian players, Shin-Soo Choo (2009-2010-2013) and Shohei Ohtani (2021), have previously joined the 20-20 club.
The pitcher against whom Kim hit his home run, Kelly, was an ace for the SK Wyverns (now SSG Landers) in the KBO from 2015 to 2018. Kim faced Kelly as a member of the Nexen (now Kiwoom) Heroes. Against him in the KBO, he batted .207 (6-for-29) with one home run. In the major leagues, however, he is batting .286 (7-for-2) with two home runs and two RBIs.
But then he went silent at the plate. In the second inning, with runners on first and second, he grounded out to shortstop. In the fifth inning, he led off with a single, but struck out. In the bottom of the seventh, Kim hit a grounder to second base against reliever Kevin Zinkel. In the bottom of the ninth, with runners on second and third, he was stranded once again on an infield single against closer Paul Seawald.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Kim was unable to produce any hits against the opposition.
Kim started the second game of the doubleheader as the leadoff hitter and second baseman, but went 0-for-3 and drew a walk. His season batting average dropped slightly from .281 (405-for-114) to .278 (408-for-114) after the first game of the doubleheader. His OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) also dropped from 0.812 to 0.807.
Kim led off the second game with a walk. He swung at a 93.8 mph (150.9 km/h) four-seam fastball and missed. Two balls later, he tried to check-swing at an 85.9-mph (138.2-kilometer) splitter outside off, but was called out for swinging. Facing an unfavorable pitch count, Kim fouled off the third and fourth pitches in a row. The count was still 0-2. Then came the fifth pitch. A 94.6-mph (152.2-kilometer) four-seam fastball that went “high on the body” and became a ball. It was a high fastball looking to throw Kim off balance. The sixth pitch was a slider that was low and away. The seventh pitch, an 86.5-mph (139.2-kilometer) splitter low to the body, was pulled but retired on a grounder to third base.
Kim stepped to the plate for the second time in the bottom of the third inning with the bases loaded and his team trailing 0-2. Instead of Arizona’s opener, McCaffrey, going down, Bryce Jarvis took the mound as the second pitcher. With the home fans chanting “Ha Sung Kim,” Jarvis’ first pitch, a 78.8-mph (126.8-kilometer) curveball, went “over the head” of Kim. Kim faked a bunt on the second pitch, a slider, and removed his bat. He picked off a low 84.5-mph (135.9-kilometer) slider in the third and then tried a 94.5-mph (152-kilometer) four-seam fastball in the fourth, but ducked his head in front of the shortstop.
Kim batted third in the bottom of the sixth inning, trailing 1-4, with his team’s bats struggling to come alive. The Arizona pitcher was still Jarvis. The first and second pitches were sliders up the middle, but both were called balls. According to MLB.com Gameday, the official website of Major League Baseball, both pitches were in the strike zone. A disappointing moment for Jarvis. Three pitches later. This time, a 93.9-mph (151.1-kilometer) four-seam fastball was again aimed at Kim’s head. The pitch was aimed at the “head” to shake him up. Kim leaned back, narrowly avoiding the ball, and left the batter’s box with his helmet halfway back on. With his helmet back on, he watched two strikes go by with a 3-0 count in his favor, and then a six-pitch, 84.5-mph (135.9-kilometer) slider that he took off-balance for a grounder to third base.
Kim stepped to the plate for the fourth time in the bottom of the eighth inning with the bases loaded and his team trailing 8-1. He calmly picked off three pitches in a row and let one go for a strike. He then swung hard at the fifth pitch, but it was fouled off the third base line. He then walked on a full count, avoiding a 144.1 mph (89.6 km/h) four-seam fastball on the body. However, he was unable to follow through and cross the plate.
Kim also had a good day on defense. Arizona’s first inning offense. With runners on first and second, Carroll tried to steal second base, but San Diego’s Manim Sanchez made a strong throw to second, and Kim made a clean tag out. The out was initially called, and despite video review, the call was not overturned. Replays showed the strap of Kim’s glove touching Carroll’s body.먹튀검증
Another good defensive play came in the third inning. Carroll led off with a walk. Marte then hit a hard grounder to second base. Kim leaped up like a dolphin and snatched the ball out of the air to extend the out. In the top of the sixth inning, Kim’s defense shined again. The bases were loaded. This time, he caught Marte’s straight hit in one motion and threw to second base to turn it into a double play.
Meanwhile, in game two, San Diego went 1-8, including a shutout. Starter Darvish Yu was tagged for four runs (four earned) on nine hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in five innings (104 pitches). Arizona got on the board first in the second inning when Moreno’s grounder to shortstop scored Walker from third. At the same time, Thomas scored from second when the first baseman’s throw to third got away from him, making it 2-0. In the fifth inning, both teams traded one run. In the top of the fifth, Arizona put runners on first and second with Walker singling to right. In the bottom of the fifth, San Diego cut the lead to 3-1 with a leadoff single to left field by Bogaerts. But that would be the only San Diego run. Darvish gave up another run in the top of the sixth and entered the bottom of the seventh trailing 4-1. With the bases loaded, Moreno hit a grand slam to left field to put the game out of reach. The 4-6 loss in Game 1 snapped a two-game losing streak for San Diego. The Padres fell to 59 wins and 66 losses, good for fourth place in the National League (NL) West. They’re slipping further and further out of the wild card race. Meanwhile, third-place Arizona improved to 64 wins and 61 losses, extending its lead over San Diego to five games.