“Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego Padres) is the No. 1 infielder in Asia.”
Kim Ha-seong has won over Japanese fans with one of the best infield defences in the big leagues. As Japanese fans cheer for San Diego starter Darvish Yu (37), who is trying to reach 99 career wins in the major leagues, they can’t help but be drawn into his hobby parade.
Kim Ha-seong batted seventh and played second base against the Chicago Cubs at Petco Park in San Diego, California, U.S., on Thursday (June 4), going 2-for-2 with a double, a walk and a run scored in a 6-0 win. Darvish pitched seven innings of two-hit ball on 115 pitches with nine strikeouts and one walk to earn his 99th major league win.메이저놀이터
Kim built a wall of woe in right field. Cubs batters had no choice but to ground balls into his range. When Darvish struck out the side in the top of the first inning, Kim made it look like he was going to do something defensively by getting all three batters to ground out.
In the top of the third inning, with the score 2-0, Kim made a quick play at second base. Nico Horner hit a ball into right field that Kim quickly snatched up and grounded into a double play. Kim celebrated and expressed his satisfaction with his defence, and the San Diego home fans rose to their feet to applaud him.
The highlight came in the top of the fourth inning with a 3-0 lead. Two batters later, Dansby Swanson hit a single up the middle. The ball was too far to the left of the second base line for Kim to handle, but he quickly backhanded the ball and threw it to first base as if the shortstop was handling it. The throw was a little high, but it was high enough for first baseman Jake Cronenwirth to make a spectacular catch.
“The range is unbelievable,” said the US commentator of Kim’s unbelievable defence. What a play by Ha-Sung Kim. The second baseman handled the ball in the left side of the infield.” Kim’s defence was so impressive that it was edited and posted on the official social media accounts of Major League Baseball (MLB).
The video of Kim’s highlight defence drew a variety of comments from Japanese fans. “Swanson’s hard-hit line drive to centre was supposed to go out, but Kim, who was close to the base, made a deep throw to third base while leaning out of the way,” said Japanese media outlet D’ancer. Japanese fans posted the video on MLB’s social media, with comments such as “God,” “This is amazing,” and “Asia’s No. 1, strongest infielder. Kim also played for South Korea in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March,” the report said.
MLB.com’s San Diego reporter, AJ Casabell, also saw Kim as a big part of Darvish’s 99 wins. “Through the first three innings, every out Darvish got was either a strikeout or a grounder to second base that Kim handled. He’s been covering some serious ground today (4th) on the right side of the infield.”
Darvish, meanwhile, reflected after his 115-pitch outing that “my body movement wasn’t that good.” As for being one win away from becoming the first Japanese pitcher to reach the 100-win plateau since Hideo Nomo, who won 123 games between 1995 and 2005, he said, “I’m not really thinking about it.”