Kim, 27, has been batting leadoff for the San Diego Padres since July in a lineup that is loaded with big-name hitters. His ability to make contact on fastballs and his focus on not turning his bat on pitches outside the zone has made him one of the best hitters on the team.
His recent rise has been so impressive that ESPN’s Award Index (AXE) ranked him fifth in the National League MVP race.
But synergy was lacking. The ability of the center field lineup of Fernand Tatis Jr, Juan Soto, Manny Machado, and Xander Bogaerts to solve problems has been underwhelming.
Tatis Jr.’s late-season struggles were particularly painful, as he was batting second and partnered with Kim Ha-Sung as a table-setter. Tatis hit just .165 in his first 25 games after the All-Star Game. This made it difficult for him to connect even when Kim came alive.
However, Tatis Jr. has been slowly coming around lately. While his long ball production hasn’t been as high as expected yet, he’s been getting on base more often with his precision hitting and initiative.
The power of San Diego’s table-setting duo of Kim and Tatis Jr. was on full display against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Petco Park in San Diego on April 19.
After going hitless in his first three at-bats, Kim stepped to the plate with runners on second and third in the bottom of the eighth inning with the score tied at 0-0. With runners on first and second, San Diego ordered a sacrifice bunt to No. 9 hitter Trent Grisham. They had high hopes for Ha-Sung Kim.
Kim did not disappoint. In front of the home fans chanting “Ha Sung Kim,” he hit a clean line drive to center field to bring home two runners.
Then Tatis Jr.’s bat came into play. Tatis Jr. blasted a two-run home run, his 20th of the season, to extend the lead to 4-0.
After struggling mightily against Arizona’s rookie starter Brandon Potts, who pitched seven scoreless innings, San Diego capitalized on the opportunities created by the bottom of the order with their table-setters.온라인카지노
Kim increased his RBI total to 44 on the season and maintained his .281 batting average. Tatis Jr. homered for the first time in 14 games. He continues to hit well, batting .419 with one home run, seven runs scored, and five RBIs in his last eight games, including today’s win over Arizona.
Things are looking up for San Diego, too. The Padres have won three of their last four games. With a season record of 59 wins and 64 losses, the team’s postseason prospects aren’t looking great, but it’s clear they’re looking to rebound. A big part of that is their strong table-setters.