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Byung-Hyun Sparkles in NLCS

Posted October. 22, 2001 08:38,   


Who is the more closer between two Asian pitchers, `made-in-Korea Submarine` Kim Byung-Hyun (22, Arizona Diamondbacks) and `great devil` Sasaki Kazuhiro 33, Seattle Mariners)?

First of all, Sasaki overwhelms Kim with the career record. Sasaki recorded 37 saves in his first year in ML last year, and won an American League saves title with 45 saves this year. As a four-time saves title winner in Japan, Sasaki had received the highest salary 0.5 yen earlier than Suzuki Ichiro, who now became his teammate. It was because of Sasaki that Sun Dong-Yeol (Member of KBL Public Information Department) could not win the saves title in Japan.

In comparison, only with the career in the Korean National team before his being a big leaguer, Kim Byung-Hyun took a closer position in the middle of his third year in the Major League and won 18 saves, which is his best career record.

However, Kim played fabulously enough to be compared to Sasaki in the postseason. Kim Byung-Hyun saved the team`s 11-4 victory yesterday, throwing scoreless two innings in NLCS game four with the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.

Kim took the mound in a full-based eighth inning, in which the Arizon might have blown out the 7-3 lead. Kim, who has shown the credible performance even in the postseason with the scoreless outing for 2 and 1/3 innings, drew a double out from slugger Javy Lopez and grounded out rookie lead-off hitter Marcus Giles to the third baseman to get out of the jam. The score became 7-4 by a RBI ground-out of Lopez.

The Arizona added four more runs by a timely hit of Craig Counsell and a three-run home run of Louis Gonzalez in the top of ninth inning. And Kim Byung-Hyun shut out the line-up trio of Julio Franco, Chipper Jone, and Brian Jordan to earn his second postseason save.

Combining Curt Schilling`s perfect win in previous day, the Arizona recorded 3 wins 1 loss, just a win away from the World Series. The World Series, in which let alone Sasaki, any Asian pitcher has not played, is close at Kim`s hand.

Meanwhile, the Seattle, for which Bret Boone drove in five runs with three hits at five bats, captured its first win over the New York Yankees exploding 15 hits in ALCS game three. Ichiro shot one hit at his three bats with two runs to extend the hitting streak to 8 games with 0.500 BA in the postseason.

Zang Hwan-Soo zangpabo@donga.com