Recapping Day 34 of the KBO

All you need to know from Day 34 of KBO action.

The KBO gave us some dazzling pitching performances, with some well-timed clutch hitting on Friday morning. Every game was determined by three runs or less, and two of them needed extra-innings to decide a winner.  You’re never going to believe this, but the Hanwha Eagles were defeated yet again, this time losing to the Doosan Bears for their 18th straight loss. Those poor, poor Eagles now are in sole possession of the second-longest losing streak in KBO league history, and it feels insane that just three weeks ago they were in the middle of the standings. Elsewhere, the KT Wiz and Samsung Lions were rained out, and the Kia Tigers, LG Twins, and the Kiwoom Heres joined the Bears in the win column. Oh, and our own Alex Fast got all he hoped for and then some watching Koo Chang-mo, who dominated and increased his quality starts streak to seven.

Miss some of the action from last night? Click on the links below to watch!

Kia Tigers: 6, SK Wyverns: 3

Doosan Bears: 5, Hanwha Eagles: 2

LG Twins: 3, Lotte Giants: 2 (Final/10)

Kiwoom Heroes: 3, NC Dinos: 2 (Final/10)

KT Wiz, Samsung Lions (Rained Out)


Let’s take a look at the top performers from the day, brought to you by Nick Bucher and Jai Correa.


Best Hitters

Son Ah-seop (Lotte Giants): 2-3, R, 2 BB. Son was a thorn in the side of the Twins’ pitching staff for this entire game, reaching base in each of his first four plate appearances. The veteran was mercifully retired on a ground out in the ninth inning, but only after having previously singling twice and having drawn two walks. The leadoff hitter for Lotte is on a heater, as he is now riding a six-game hitting streak and has multiple hits in three of his past four games.

Jeong Keun-woo (LG Twins): 1-3, 2 R, RBI, BB, SB. LG’s man at second base has had a rough offensive season overall, entering the game batting under .200, but was a key contributor in the team’s win Friday. After picking up a stolen base and a walk earlier in the game, Jeong’s 10th inning plate appearance came with one out and runners on the corners. The 37-year-old ripped a ball into the right-center gap, as LG completed walked off the Giants.

Oh Seon-woo (Kia Tigers): 2-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI: Oh replaced Choi Hyung-woo, who had started the game as the DH for Kia in the sixth inning, and he still managed to rack up multiple hits, runs, and RBI. With a runner on, and his team trailing by a run in his first at-bat off the bench, the lefty hit a ball 395 feet into right field for a homer that gave the Tigers a 4-3 lead the would never relinquish.

Na Ji-wan (Kia Tigers): 1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI: Na hit a two-run, 395-foot bomb of his own in the Tigers’ win, with his coming in the 8th inning and serving as insurance to Kia’s lead. While it was Na’s only hit on the day, his RBI groundout in the first inning was the first run either team managed and got the 35-year-old outfielder up to three RBI for the game.

Park Kun-woo (Doosan Bears): 3-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI. Park wasted no time getting his day started, leading off the top of the first inning with a homer to right field, good for just his second dinger on the season. The 29-year-old would later add two more hits in this one, a double and a single, to finish just a triple shy of the cycle. Over his team’s past four games, Park has gone a scorching 9-for-13 with a homer and two doubles.

José Miguel Fernández (Doosan Bears): 2-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI. Few things in life are certain, but death, taxes, and Fernández raking are about as safe to bet as anything. The designated hitter launched a pair of extra-base hits in this game, including his sixth homer of the year. I continue to believe very strongly that if/when MLB plays in the United States, that Fernández could contribute to a team, especially if the league implements the universal designated hitter.

Kim Jae-ho (Doosan Bears): 2-3, 2B, BB, SB. Kim made some noise from the six-hole of the lineup Friday, reaching base three times. After a single in his first at-bat, Kim swiped second base as well before ultimately being stranded. The Bears’ shortstop was stranded again two more times after drawing a walk and picking up a double, as the bottom of the order couldn’t bring him home, but played well in the win. Now hitting well over .350, Kim may be bumped up in the lineup soon.

Nick Bucher

Best Pitchers

Dan Straily (Lotte Giants): 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 7 K, 2 BB. The Giants are on fire, and so is their ace. Straily allowed two runs in the outing, one unearned on an error by the second baseman Oh Yoon-suk, and another on an RBI single from Twins catcher Yoo Kang-nam. That was all the damage the powerful Twins lineup could muster against a masterful Straily, as the right-hander only faced the minimum in his other frames. The white-hot Straily has now given up a measly two earned runs over his past 25 2/3 innings, good for a 0.70 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and 26 strikeouts against seven walks.

Koo Chang-mo (NC Dinos): 7 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 8 K, 2 BB. Another outing, another quality start from Koo Chang-mo. While this wasn’t necessarily evident when a passed ball resulted in a first-inning run for the Heroes, Koo got back to his usual, dominant self over the next six innings. Unlike his other starts, however, Koo conceded his first home run of the season, courtesy of Heroes third baseman Kim Ha-seong. Koo now sits with a 0.75 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, and 23.7% K-BB.

Choi Won-joo (Doosan Bears): 5 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 7 K, 1 BB. The Bears sent out Choi for his first start of the season after pitching out of the bullpen up to this point. They might just send him out for another, as Choi was dominant over his five innings, striking out seven and only allowing four men to reach base. Posting a 7.64 ERA and 1.58 WHIP as a reliever, it seems Choi might have found a home in the rotation.

Lee Seung-ho (Kiwoom Heroes): 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 3 K, 2 BB. Opposing Koo Chang-mo is a daunting task – there is little margin for error to pitch your team to victory. Lee Seung-ho had initially done just that, shutting out the dominant Dinos lineup over six innings, leaving the game with the Heroes ahead. While Lee was unable to get the victory since Heroes reliever Kim Tae-hoon relinquished the lead in the seventh, the Heroes were able to get a much-needed extra-innings victory, keeping pace with the best of the rest.


Saturday’s Key Matchup

Odrisamer Despaigne (KT Wiz) vs David Buchanan (Samsung Lions): While both teams sit towards the bottom of the standings, the Wiz and Lions still are going to put together a nice matchup in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday – weather permitting. Despaigne will toe the rubber for the Wiz, looking to improve on his 4.29 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. For the Lions, David Buchanan will take the ball. The right-hander has been lights out of late, ceding a single run over his last 20 innings pitched.

— Jai Correa

Alex Fast

An FSWA award winner for Research Article of the Year, Alex is the co-host of On The Corner and host of the weekend edition of First Pitch. He received his masters in interactive telecommunications from NYU's ITP. All opinions are Alex's and Alex's alone. A die-hard Orioles fan, Alex is well versed in futility and broken pitching prospects.

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