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Kim Gets Third Win of Season Against Cubs

Posted May. 30, 2007 03:06,   


He probably prefers the beach to the mountains.

Kim Byung-hyun (28), who had been stagnating in Colorado with the Rockies, has been flying high ever since his transfer to Florida.

Kim started against Chicago Cubs on May 29 at Wrigley Field and got his third win of the season (against two losses), and pitched six innings without giving up a single run. In 105 pitches, he gave up three hits and three bases-on-balls, and had five strikeouts. His ERA fell from 7.02 to 5.16.

Ever since his transfer to the Florida Marlins on May 15, he has started in three games, had two wins and no losses, while keeping his ERA at 3.24. So what exactly has changed in him?

Revival of fastballs and sliders-

Kim once threw balls as fast as 150km, but his speed dropped under 130km for various reasons, including injuries. After his move to Florida, however, he is throwing fastballs like he did before. His fastballs yesterday constantly ranged between 145 and 146km.

The movement of his ball has also improved, baffling batters. The power of his “Frisbee slider,” a nickname given by the American press, has been reinforced as the speed of his pitches got better.

Kim also enjoyed a complete victory in the three clashes he had with Derrek Lee, the National League leader in hitting. Kim struck Lee out twice; once in the first inning with a 145km fastball inside, and again in the third with a slider, when he had runners on first and third base with two outs. In the fifth inning, Lee hit a fly-out to right-field.

A dedicated catcher-

While playing for Colorado, Kim’s relationship with manager Clint Hurdle was strained. Kim preferred to start, but Hurdle made him pitch in middle relief as well.

On the other hand, his new boss, Freddy Gonzalez, has trusted him ever since he pitched well in his first game with the Marlins.

Kim also has a dedicated catcher on his new team. In all of the three games Kim started, Matt Treanor, a defensive catcher, appeared with him. Although Treanor’s season batting average is only .167, Gonzalez confirmed on May 29 through local press that he has designated Kim and Treanor as a set battery.

Kim is also known to be more comfortable with the Marlins, since its numerous Latin American players create a sort of multinational environment.