“He’s the engine of our team!” The commander in chief raves… Why Kim is the “heart” of SD

“I am the engine of our team”

San Diego Padres second baseman Ha-Sung Kim started at second base and batted first in the lineup against the Washington Nationals at Petco Park in San Diego, California, U.S., on Thursday (April 24), going 2-for-5 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored to lead the Padres to a 13-3 victory.

His hitting has been peaking lately. Kim has hit safely in eight straight games, including a stretch of 24 games, starting on April 16 against the Cleveland Indians. In his last eight games, he’s batting .387 (12-for-31) with one home run, six RBIs, nine runs scored, and 12 runs batted in. He may not be the “star” of every game, but he’s doing his part.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, manager Bob Melvin said before the game, “Look at the way he’s hitting lefties. It’s really good. Tatis Jr. is our table-setter, but we don’t mind hitting him a couple times,” explaining, “When Xander Bogaerts wasn’t there, Kim made some good pitches, so we put him back in the leadoff spot.”

Kim, who has been hitting very well against left-handed pitching, was given the leadoff job, and his uncharacteristic hitting was evident from the start of the 24th game. In his first at-bat to lead off the bottom of the first inning, Kim swung at a three-pitch 91.9-mph (147.9 km/h) sinker from Washington starter Padrick Corbin in the middle of the strike zone.

The pitch reached 103.4 mph (166.4 km/h) and traveled 411 feet (125.3 meters) before clearing the center field fence. Washington center fielder Derek Hill attempted to make a jumping catch, but it was not enough. Kim’s first major league leadoff home run.

It wasn’t just a one-hitter. In the bottom of the fifth inning with a 2-0 lead and runners on second and third, Kim faced Corbin again, this time with a 91.8 mph (147.7 km/h) fastball. The Washington outfielders were a little further back than usual, as he had arched his first pitch, and both runners reached base.

After leading off with a single, Ha-Sung Kim stole second on a Fernando Tatis Jr. walk, then moved to third on a Juan Soto single, and finally scored his second run of the day on a Manny Machado grounder to center field.

Kim’s performance left manager Bob Melvin with a big smile on his face. “I was feeling pretty good tonight,” Melvin said, according to Canada’s TSN, “He’s kind of the engine of our team. With him as a tablesetter, our lineup is very solid,” he said, giving a thumbs-up.

In his first season in the majors, Kim struggled to adjust to big league pitchers’ fastballs, batting .202 with 54 hits, eight home runs, six doubles and a .622 OPS in 117 games. But he showed improvement in 150 games last year, hitting .251 with 11 home runs, 51 RBIs, 58 runs scored, 12 doubles, and a .708 OPS.

Through 24 games, Kim has 58 hits, seven home runs, 31 RBIs, 34 runs scored, 13 doubles, a .254 OPS and a .734 slugging percentage in 72 games. San Diego has 86 more games to play before the end of the 2023 season, and if his current pace continues, he’s on pace to shatter most of last year’s hitting metrics. He’s already on pace for a career-high season in stolen bases. Not to mention his defense.

His WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is still excellent, too. Although he’s lost the top spot, Kim is third on the team in bWAR with 3.3 according to Baseball Reference, and third in fWAR with 2.1 according to FanGraphs.아톰카지노

According to TSN, Kim said after the 24th game, “Being in the leadoff spot gives me more opportunities to get on base. It can put pressure on me, but I try not to think about it,” he said, emphasizing that he “always strives for good results.” Kim has already earned the title of “starter,” but with each good game, his position becomes more solid.

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