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Tuesday KBO Game Highlights (2014/04/22)

Apr
22

Doosan 6 - Hanhwa 2, Daejeon [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

Today was Jorge Cantu's day. He hit two homeruns, his 4th and 5th on the year and rang up 3 RBIs, going 3-4 and being declared the game's MVP. Felix Pie on the other hand, only went 1-4 but managed to knock in a couple of runs in the 1st which was all the offense the Eagles could muster today. Caleb Clay started for Hanhwa and didn't have a good outing, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits (2 homeruns) in just 3 innings pitched. Starting for Doosan, Dustin Nippert had another solid outing, throwing 6 solid innings, allowing 9 hits and 3 walks but only giving up 2 runs for the win.

Jorge Cantu's Interview

LG 1 - Samsung 8, Daegu [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

Samsung is looking to take advantage of a weak LG team to break out of their early season slump. Going into the 4th tied at one, Samsung put 4 runs on the board 3 of them coming from a base-clearing triple by catcher Lee Heung-Ryeon which put the game out of the Twins' reach. Samsung's Yamaico Navarro went 2-5 in the lead-off spot racking up an RBI and scoring a run, while LG's Josh 'Golden' Bell went 1-3 and picked up his teams only RBI on a 1st inning sac-fly. Cory Riordan took to the mound for LG and picked up the loss, dropping his record to 0-3. He gave up 7 runs on 9 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings pitched. Samsung's Jang Won-Sam got the win, pitching 5 ⅔ allowing 7 hits and 1 walk and giving up a single run.

NC 5 - SK 6, Incheon [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

This is a big series between the Wyverns and Dinos, and it remains to be seen who will gain the advantage.  Today's game was a heartbreaking loss for NC, when closer Kim Jin-Sung blew his second save of the year, allowing two runs to score off a Choi Jeong walk off homerun in the bottom of the 9th. Fan Favorite Coffee and Waffles went 1-4 with a base on balls and Luke Scott went 1-2 as the Wyvern's DH before being taken out of the game in the 5th. On the mound, Eric Hacker started for NC, allowing 3 runs off 7 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings pitched for no decision. The Wyvern's Park Jeong-Bae got his 4th win of the year off 1 ⅔ hitless innings pitched.

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Weekly Wrapup 2014/04/20

Apr
20

Since both SK and NC lost today, the Nexen Heroes managed to sneak into first place even though they had a rest day. Granted, they have won seven in a row even though they took this weekend off, so it isn't like they haven't been playing well. At the other end of the spectrum, Hanhwa and LG battled it out at the bottom of the heap with the mighty Eagles soaring to win two of three and are entering the rest day with a two day rally and are a sizeable game and a half out of the basement. Of course anyone who watched those games would know that in both of them Hanhwa blew sizeable leads to create nailbiter 9th innings, so the wins weren't pretty.

While it wasn't pretty, it was exciting, with LG's Josh Bell hitting his league leading sixth home run and Hanhwa's Felix Pie hitting his first. The homeruns were overshadowed by a bench clearing altercation in the 8th inning, when the Twin's Jeong Chan-Heon drilled the Eagles Jeong Keun-Woo square in the back in retalation for him spiking LG's second baseman earlier in the game to successfully break up a double play. Oddly enough, Jeong Keun-Woo was on base in the first place after being hit by a pitch, so it was his second HBP on the day. Jeong was tossed from the game for the beanball, and even though there was a bit of pushing no real violence erupted.

Jeong vs Jeong Beanball

But let's talk pitching.  Due to the high scoring nature of the league, it is easy to gloss over pitching and focus solely on offensive feats, but we have some solid foreign talent in the league this year. I mentioned a little while back that KIA's DJ Houlton was pitching better than anyone in the league and he then turned around and had a bad start against Hanhwa his next trip to the mound. It is early in the season so his ERA took a bit of a hit, but he is holding strong at fourth in the league with a 2.45 earned run average. Standing at the top of the heap right now is Andy Van Hekken with a 1.46 ERA and a 3-1 win-loss ratio on four starts. Just behind him is Mr. Intensity Brandon Knight (I will no longer refer to him as angry for fear we might meet by chance on the subway) with a 1.62ERA with a single win and no losses in three starts. Notably, they both pitch for the Nexen Heroes. Doosan's Yu Heui-Kwan is the only other pitcher holding down a sub 2 earned run average at 1.91 and he has 2 wins and no losses on 4 starts.

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Saturday KBO Game Highlights (2014/04/19)

Apr
19

KIA 4 - SK 6, Incheon [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

SK came raring out of the gates, scoring 4 runs in the bottom of the first to put this game out of reach from the get-go. Luke Scott helped the team with a solid effort at the plate, going 3-4 and scoring 3 runs. Brett Pill (2-4, 1RBI) knocked in a run in the 3rd for KIA, who scored 3 more in the 4th, two of which coming from a two run homerun by An Chi-Hong, his first of the season. But it wasn't meant to be, and SK never relinquished their lead. Wyvern reliever Yoon Kil-Hyeon got his first win of the season, pitching 2 innings allowing no hits and no walks.

LG 7 - Hanhwa 8, Daejeon [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

If you have never watched your team go into the 9th with a 5 run lead and known that it wouldn't be enough, congratulations, you aren't a Hanhwa Eagles fan. Hanhwa was up 7-2 entering the 9th and through some spectacularly inept pitching and a terrible throw by catcher Lee Hui-Keun managed to blow that lead and allow the Twins to tie it up. Fortunately Ko Dong-Jin managed to hit a walk-off single in the 10th so Hanhwa came out victorious, but it was a bad game all around. Team leader Felix 'Pecan' Pie made a couple great grabs and went 3-4 on the day with two doubles, 2 rbis and a run scored, but when trying to stretch one of those doubles into a three-bagger somehow missed tagging second base, forcing him to run back and be easily tagged out. Josh 'Golden' Bell reached base from all five of his plate appearances, being walked twice and going 2-3 but reaching base on an error in his final at-bat. Eagle's reliever Choi Yeong-Hwan got the win with a single inning pitched, retiring all three batters faced.

Felix Pie doesn't tag second base

Lotte 5 - Doosan 6, Seoul (Jamsil) [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

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Thursday KBO Game Highlights (2014/04/17)

Apr
18

All of today's games were rained out, so here are two nice videos. The first is a nice Eric Thames blast on Wednesday to tie the game and the homerun lead with Josh Bell and Lee Taek-Keun. The second is a big collision at the plate from Wednesday's Hanhwa-KIA matchup.

 

Eric Thames goes long

BAM, Collision!

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Tuesday KBO Game Highlights (2014/04/15)

Apr
16

Hanhwa 4 - KIA 5, Gwangju [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

There is probably no more depressing way to lose a game than a walk off walk in the bottom of the 9th, but that's exactly what happened today when Hanhwa's Kim Hyuk-Min walked in a run to end the game. The Eagle's starting pitcher Andrew Albers had a rocky day, pitching 5 innings and giving up 8 hits and no walks for 2 earned runs, but managed to escape with no decision. Felix Pie had a good game, going 2-3 with a walk and a couple of RBIs coming from a clutch two-out single in the 7th. Brett Pill went 2-4 and scored a run for the Tigers. KIA's Jairo Asencio grabbed his first win to go with his 3 saves in 1 inning pitched facing 3 and striking out 3.

NC 5 - Lotte 3, Busan [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

Would you like some coffee with those waffles?  Why yes I would, Eric Thaaaaaaaaaaaaames came in as a pinch hitter in the top of the 9th to hit a game tying homerun, forcing the game into extra innings. The Dino's almost took the lead in the 10th, but pinch runner Park Min-Woo was thrown out in a great play at the plate to keep the game going.  Lotte's pitching finally broke down in the 12th, allowing NC to score two and take the victory. Coffee and Waffles went 1-2 on the day with an intentional base on balls. In the other dugout, Luis Jimenez went 2-4. Dino's starter Thad Weber gave up 6 hits and 2 walks for 3 earned runs in 7 innings. Chris Oxspring was pitching for the Seagulls and allowed 2 earned runs (both long balls) on 4 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings pitched. NC's Lim Chang-Min took the W on 1 ⅓ innings of no hit, no walk ball.

Doosan 4 - Samsung 1, Daegu [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

The Bears were in charge of this game from the get-go, with Jorge Cantu (1-4 today) putting the first run on the board with an RBI double. Jamaico Navarro (2-4 today) took care of the Lion's only run with a solo long ball in the 9th. Samsung's starter Rick VandenHurk came out of the game in the 2nd, complaining of shoulder pain.  No word yet if it is anything serious, but let's hope not. Doosan's starter Yu Heui-Kwan went long in the game, throwing 8 ⅔ innings giving up a single run on three hits and two walks to get his second win of the season.

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Weekly Wrap Up 2014/04/13

Apr
13

It is unexpected to say the least to see the NC Dinos in first place, especially because they lost two of three to Hanhwa in their midweek series.  They did turn around and sweep the Twins this weekend, which dropped LG to the bottom of the heap, even below Hanhwa. Nexen's weekend sweep of the Eagles kept Hanhwa just percentage points above LG in the basement. Lotte also had a poor week, going 2-3-1 to lose a bit of ground on the front-runners.  The Heroes aforementioned sweep let them go 5-1 on the week and they are going into their rest day with a 5 game winning streak. KIA played as expected, winning just 2 this week and are only middling in the standings due to Samsung having a midweek break and then losing 2-3 to SK over the weekend. 

We got several foreign player interviews this week, notably by Homeplate.kr favorite Coffee and Waffles, where he was wearing a silly NC Dino's headband and discussed beard pulling (which is not a euphemism and also, sadly doesn't seem to be available online but you can see some actual beard pulling in the video below ). Vinny Rottino was game MVP and got some face time after the game and there was an Everett Teaford fan introduction interview before his first outing (both videos posted inline here). 

Eric Thames having his beard pulled following a homerun

LG's Josh Bell is still at the top of the homerun heap, but seems to have lost his superhuman status, with 'only' one long ball this week for a total of 5 on the season. SK's Luke Scott and KIA's Brett Pill are right on his heels with 4 each, Scott sending 2 long in one game on Wednesday. Pill must be eating his Wheaties, because in addition to the 1 time he went yard this week, he is batting .378 on the season, putting him at 6th in the league in batting average.

Following just behind, NC's Coffee and Waffles and Doosan's Jorge Cantu both have 3 homeruns to their credit and Samsung's Yamaico Navarro has a couple to his name. Luis Jimenez, who missed the first 7 games of the season, and Vinny Rottino both have put a single ball over the fence and Felix Pie is still waiting for his first shot.

No need to worry about Felix Pie, though, as he seems to be making a lot of friends in the Hanhwa dugout and is bringing a lot of character to the team, plus his play at center field has so far been spectacular.

 Felix Pie making friends

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Saturday KBO Game Highlights (2014/04/12)

Apr
12

Nexen 6 - Hanhwa 2, Daejeon [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

Hanhwa's shortstop woes might not be over. Han Sang-Hun didn't get credited with an error, but he definitely missed a ball he could have grabbed, so we are going to rename every Eagle player at the position Henry Skrimshander. Hanhwa jumped to an early one run lead on the effort of leadoff man Jeong Keun-Woo who had two doubles on the day and really legged it out from second to barely beat a tag at the plate for the run. That was the end of the Hanhwa offense, though, and Nexen was just getting started. A three run homerun in the 4th by Yoo Han-Joon started it off, and then the Heroes scored single runs in the 5th, 6th and 7th to cap it off. Vinny Rottino was named player of the game for going 3-4 with a solo shot in the 6th and Hanhwa's Felix Pie went 0-2 with two walks. The angriest man on the mound, Brandon Knight chalked up the win throwing for 5 ⅔ with 4 hits and 4 walks.

Today's MVP Vinny Rottino Interview (starts at 2:07)

SK 10 - Samsung 7, Daegu [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

A lot of back and forth today at Daegu.  The Lions were in the lead, 2-1 going into a huge 5th inning. The Wyverns put five runs on the board in the top of the inning, highlighted by DH Lee Jae-Won's base-clearing double. Samsung came back in the bottom of the inning, scoring four of their own to tie it up with back to back doubles by first-baseman Cha Tae-In and DH Lee Seung-Yeop. Also, not content with Hanhwa being the only team to have troubles at short, Wyverns shortstop Park Jin-Man managed to blow out his knee chasing a ball in the bottom of the 5th and was taken off the field in a stretcher. SK third-baseman Choi Jeong hit a two run long ball in the 7th to put the game out of reach and the rest is history. The Wyvern's Luke Scott took the day off today and Samsung's Yamaico Navarro went 0-4 with a walk. On the mound, SK's Jo-Jo Reyes didn't bring his A-game and gave up 6 earned runs off 6 hits and 5 walks in 4 ⅓ innings for no decision. Jeon Yoo-Soo threw 1 ⅔ innings allowing 1 hit and no runs to get the win.

NC 10 - LG 1, Seoul (Jamsil) [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

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Thursday KBO Game Highlights (2014/04/10)

Apr
11

LG 1 - Lotte 4, Busan [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

Lotte finally put a run on the board in the 8th to get the offense started at Sajik Stadium tonight. Josh "Golden" Bell (2-5 today) didn't allow them to walk away with the win, though, by jacking a long ball - his league leading fifth of the season - in the top of the 9th to tie the score at one apiece. The game entered extra innings and in the bottom of the 10th Luis Jimenez (1-4 with a walk) launched a three run walk-off shot over the wall, in his first game back from his hamstring injury. Choi Dae-Seong picked up the win with a single inning pitched, allowing one hit.

SK 0 - Doosan 5, Seoul (Jamsil) [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

It was a collaborative effort by the Doosan pitching staff, with five pitchers participating in the shutout. SK's Luke Scott was shut down at the plate, going 0-3, but reaching base once when he was hit by a pitch. On Doosan's side, Jorge Cantu came back from a few days of rest to go 1-3, his one hit a double in the 4th, which he scored off of. Doosan's starter No Kyeong-Eun picked up the win, pitching 5 ⅔ innings giving up just one hit and allowing three walks.

Hanhwa 4 - NC 3, Masan [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

Not only did Hanhwa win this game, but they did so without committing any errors. It turns out that their old starting shortstop Han Sang-Hun has a good glove, and when he made a diving grab to force an out at second he was actually hugged by Eagles second-baseman Jeong Keun-Woo. At the plate, Coffee and Waffles went 1-4 with a walk and Felix 'Pecan' Pie (yes, I know it is 'pee-ay') went 1-3 with a walk. The game had two foreign starters, with Hanhwa's Caleb Clay pitching 5 innings and allowing 5 runs on 6 hits and 5 walks for no decision and the Dino's Eric Hacker throwing for 6, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits and 5 walks.  The game's win was awarded to Park Jung-Jin for facing 2 and retiring 2.

KIA 2 - Nexen 5, Seoul (Mokdong) [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

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Tuesday KBO Game Highlights (2014/04/08)

Apr
08

LG 2 - Lotte 2, Busan [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

The twelve inning tie rule comes into play for the first time this year. LG should have won the game in a shutout, but homerun superstar Josh 'Golden' Bell (0-6) committed an error in the first allowing Lotte to score two runs. The Twins tied it up in the 5th off RBI singles by Park Yong-Taik and Lim Jae-Cheol, and the next seven innings were scoreless, ending the game in a tie. 

SK 1 - Doosan 2, Seoul (Jamsil) [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

Doosan upset SK's four game winning streak today.  The Wyverns got on the board with their only run in the top of the 1st and were unable to get their offense going after that. Doosan came back in the 3rd to tie it up after Kim Jae-Ho doubled and then two consecutive sacrifices scored him. Doosan took the lead in the 8th when Min Byeong-Heon tripled and then himself scored on a sac fly.  Luke Scott went 1-3 with a walk on the day and Jorge Cantu hasn't played since Friday. Doosan's Christ Volstad had a good outing with seven innings pitched and allowing only a single run on five hits and three bases on balls, but ended up with no decision. Yun Myeong-Jun got the W on one inning pitched allowing a single hit and no runs.

KIA 13 - Nexen 9, Seoul (Mokdong) [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

BAM! BOOM! BLAST! There were twenty eight hits in today's game at Mokdong, so it would be impossible to get into too much detail in a single paragraph. The score was tied at four entering the 5th when KIA had an eight run inning centered around a Cha Il-Mok grand slam (incidentally his first hit of the season after 23 plate appearances). Nexen never managed to recover, although they did score another five runs in the game including a run in the 8th attributed to a Brett Pill error.  Pill went 0-2 on the day but walked thrice, and Vinny Rottino saw a return to left field and went 2-4 with a walk. KIA starter Lim Joon-Seop got the win on a rocky performance where he pitched 5⅓ innings and gave up six runs. Tiger's closer Jairo Asencio had another good performance, pitching the 9th and allowing one hit and no earned runs. 

Hanhwa 6 - NC 2, Masan [Box Score] [Video Highlights]

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Weekly Wrap Up 2014/04/06

Apr
06

The Wyverns have risen to the top of the heap in this second week of KBO action.  They did have the advantage of playing the last three games against Hanhwa, which gives them a bit of an early season advantage. They are on a four game winning streak, but since three of those wins came against the Eagles, it isn't as indicative of SK greatness as it might have been otherwise. More surprising is that we see the NC Dinos in second, and since they are heading home to Masan to face Hanhwa for their midweek series I don't expect them to be dropping in the rankings right away.

It is still early in the season, though, and both Nexen and KIA are at .500 which I don't expect to last.  I think in the upcoming weeks we will see the Heroes moving up in the rankings while the Tigers will be slipping. I also expect that both Samsung and LG are disappointed in their respective performances and both teams should be playing better. Doosan and Hanhwa are surely also unhappy but no one really expects them to be showing much improvement as the season progresses.

We have seen some interesting plays this week, and the video that I keep going back to is Yamaico Navarro attempting to stretch a stand up triple into an inside the park homerun. Take a look below and watch the slow-motion replay where you can clearly see the third-base coach telling him to stop.  Not only doesn't Navarro listen, but he is in such a state of excitement he runs around the coach to be out by a mile at homeplate.  I'm not the only one who finds this clip funny, as you can see Navarro himself laughing about it after being tagged out.

Apparently Josh Bell was influenced by this decision when he made a big baserunning mistake the following night.  Neglecting to tag up after a fly out, he just decides to run home, being tagged out at second when he is already walking to the dugout. All was probably forgiven with the teammates, though, since Bell already has four homeruns in only five games this season. (Click Read More to see more video)

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