The San Diego Padres were unable to overcome an early deficit against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park on July 7, losing 2-8. However, there was a bright spot in the game for 28-year-old Kim Ha-seong (San Diego), who has been on a hot streak lately.
Starting in the leadoff spot, a position he has recently solidified, Kim went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. In addition to playing solid defense at third base, Kim had another two-plus hit game to showcase his recent surge in on-base percentage. His season batting average increased slightly from 0.286 to 0.287, and his on-base percentage increased slightly from 0.383 to 0.384.
He’s been hitting like a man possessed lately, proving that he can do his part on offense as well as defense. In his last seven games, including this one, he’s batting .417 with a whopping .548 on-base percentage. That’s at least one out of every two at-bats. Even though his team lost the game, he still managed to get on base twice to open up the offense. Despite the team’s loss, Kim’s performance was memorable for fans.
Starter Rich Hill struggled from the start. He gave up two runs in the first inning, making things difficult for San Diego. Kim also hit a grounder to third base in his first at-bat. He tried a four-seam curveball from All-Star pitcher Lance Lynn, whom the Dodgers acquired at the last trade deadline, but it didn’t leave the infield.
The Dodgers pounded their old teammate Hill for four runs in the second inning to take an early lead. Freeman’s bat, a candidate for National League MVP this year, was on fire. He crushed a three-run homer off Hill to make it 6-0. San Diego was in desperate need of a comeback 먹튀검증.
San Diego’s comeback and Kim’s run started in the third inning. After a leadoff walk to Choi, Sanchez hit a solo home run to left field one out later to change the mood at Petco Park. Grisham followed with a single, and Kim drew a walk in his second at-bat.
If Kim had been the same hitter, Rin would have tried to match him as much as possible before going to center field. But with Kim at the peak of his powers, even Rinne couldn’t make it easy on him. He tried a borderline pitch, but the ball was slightly off, and Kim expertly picked it out. Eventually, a walk put runners on first and second. It was Kim’s first hit of the day. However, the next batter, Tatis Jr. squandered the opportunity and hit a grounder.
With San Diego unable to find a rhythm offensively, the game remained scoreless until the third at-bat of the fifth inning, when Kim singled to center field, trailing 6-1. With the bases loaded and no outs, Rin called for the first two strikes to put Kim in a jam and then threw him a three-pitch walk. But Kim was no pushover. Despite the collapse of the center field, he used good bat control to hit a three-run shot to left field.
It was Kim’s 12th consecutive game with a hit, and his 14th consecutive game with at least two hits. Both records are the longest streaks of his career. The 14-game streak was the first in the major leagues this season and the first in Korean major league history. The previous record was Freddie Freeman’s 10 games this year, and the previous Korean record was Shin-Soo Choo’s 10-game streak from September 1 to September 10, 2013, while with Cincinnati.
Ichiro Suzuki also approached the Asian record in this category. Ichiro, who was known as a hit machine in his prime, holds the Asian record with 15 consecutive games with two or more hits from June 4 to June 20, 2007, when he was with Seattle. With two or more hits in his next game, Kim will not only match Ichiro’s record, but also challenge for the Asian record.
The game was featured on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, the largest sports network in the United States. It was the only major league game to be shown at a later time. The nationally televised game was chosen for its high level of fan interest. The National League West rivalry between San Diego and the Los Angeles Dodgers was ESPN’s top matchup of the day. In such a nationally televised game, Kim once again impressed fans with his performance.
The ESPN broadcasters also praised Kim’s recent performance. When Kim came to bat in the third inning and picked his pitches well, ESPN commentators said, “The stadium is filled with ‘Ha Sung Kim’ chants. He’s an all-around player. He’s an all-around player, a great runner, and a great defender.”
The broadcasters had even created a special graphic for him. Baseball Reference’s Wins Above Replacement (WAR) rankings for the year. Kim has already accumulated 5.3 WAR, which ranks him second in the category. Only Ronald Acuña Jr. (Atlanta) is above him.
“He’s second overall among outfielders in WAR,” the ESPN announcers wrote in the graphic, “He’s a difference-maker on defense, and he’s having the best season of his career on offense.” While the team lost, it was still a great day for Kim to get his name in front of Major League Baseball fans across the country.