Kim Ha-sung started as the second baseman and the first batter in the 2023 Major League LA Angels home showdown at Petco Park in San Diego, California, on the 5th (Korea Standard Time) and scored one hit and one walk in four at-bats.
Kim Ha-sung, whose performance as well as his batting sense have improved since late June. Kim Ha-sung has been on a hit streak for four consecutive games since July began in local time until the showdown with the Cincinnati Reds and the Los Angeles Angels. The batting average did not change much as there were no multi-hit games, but he continues to maintain the mid-200.
On the 5th, Kim Ha-sung hit a cutter that formed high in the middle of the third strike zone with “Monster” Otani in his first at-bat, but started the game with a ground ball to shortstop. And in the third inning, he hit a cutter once again in his second at-bat with one out and first base, but he stepped down due to double play and rarely produced a hit.
His first hit came in his third at-bat. 안전놀이터 Kim Ha-sung hit Otani’s fastball in the third at-bat of the first base with no outs in the fifth inning and continued his hit streak to the left field for four consecutive games, and in the fourth at-bat in the seventh inning, he scored on Manny Machado’s timely hit. And in the eighth inning, he stepped down with a grounder to third base in his last at-bat and finished his mission at-bat.
However, the moments when Kim Ha-sung shone the most on the day were the defense in the fourth and ninth innings. At the top of the fourth inning with two outs and a runner on first base, the ball hit by Angels Mike Mustakus headed toward first baseman. And Jake Cronenworth tried to catch the ball by throwing himself, but the ball hit Cronenworth’s glove and bounced toward the second baseman. At this time, Kim Ha-sung, who was caught in the dynamic work, twisted his body again and slowed down the ball with his bare hands, and picked up the ball that fell on the ground and handed it to the first baseman to create an out count.
San Diego starter Joe Musgrove expressed his gratitude to Kim Ha-sung by giving a strong applause when Kim Ha-sung created an out count through circus play. And Kronenworth gave Kim Ha-sung a high five as Musgrove reached out his hand to Kim Ha-sung, who was returning to the dugout.
The rain didn’t stop at once. Kim Ha-sung once again shone in a desperate crisis with two outs and a full base in the top of the ninth inning with an 8-5 lead. The situation was like this. With two outs and a full base in the ninth inning, Taylor Walls’ hit ball emerged shallowly toward shortstop and second baseman. As the batting speed was not fast due to the eaten ball, it could lead to an infield hit. Here, Kim Ha-sung quickly ran out and caught the ball, and gave a perfect throw to first baseman Kronenworth with a running throw.
Amid Kim Ha-sung’s tremendous defense, San Diego overcame a big crisis with two outs and a full base in the top of the ninth inning, and won two consecutive games by defeating the Angels 8-5. In response, “MLB.com ” said, “San Diego does not have an All-Star infielder in 2023. “It’s strange, but San Diego feels that Kim Ha-sung is well worth it,” he praised.
In particular, ‘MLB.com ‘ and San Diego coach Bob Melvin raised their thumbs to Kim Ha-sung. “MLB.com ” said, “Kim Ha-sung started the game with OAA (Outs Above Average) +11, the No. 1 player in the National League,” adding, “Kim Ha-sung showed great play to the ball that hit Cronenworth’s glove.”
“I think Kim Ha-sung is the best defender in the game,” manager Bob Belvin praised, adding, “I think a lot of Kim Ha-sung’s figures will suggest that.” Kim Ha-sung made a huge play to end the game, and there are not many people who can do that,” he reiterated. Defensive power is already increasing in value with Kim Ha-sung, who was verified last year, and offense this year.