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The First Run is Key to Series, Say Coaches

Posted October. 09, 2007 03:24,   


“It will all depend on who scores the first run.”

At the Korean Baseball First Round Playoff Media Day held in Daejeon Stadium on October 8, Hanwha coach Kim In-shik and Samsung coach Sun Dong-yeol announced the opening game pitchers as Ryu Hyeon-jin and Jamie Brown, respectively, and anticipated that “The first run will be the key to victory.”

Samsung won the second consecutive Korean Series last year against Hanwha with a score of 4 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. The first round playoff series will be a stage for Samsung to maintain its high standard of play, and for Hanwha to take revenge for an earlier loss.

This season, Samsung finished ahead of Hanwha with 10 victories and 8 losses. However, Hanwha only beat Samsung once during eight games in May and June. But they swept Samsung in five games out of six in August, September and October, displaying dominance in the second half of the season.

Ryu Hyeon-jin, who achieved the first rookie pitcher triple crown (most wins, lowest ERA, and most strikeouts) last year, will pitch the first game. However, he has not won a single game he has pitched in the post season (4 starts and 1 relief appearance). His record this season is a solid 17 victories and 7 losses, but he displayed relative weakness with 1 win and 2 losses in 5 games against Samsung.

Jamie Brown is the only Lions pitcher with double-digit wins this year. His record is 12 wins and 8 losses, and he has an ERA of 3.33. He pitched three good games against the Eagles with 2 wins, 1 loss and an ERA of 2.70.

Coach Sun revealed he would place his high on-base percentage players as his leadoff and second batters in the order. He said “If the starting pitchers can prevent early runs and hold until the fifth inning, we have a very good chance since we have a strong bullpen that features closer Oh Seung-hwan.”

Coach Kim predicted, “The key will be how well the batters hit.” He showed confidence in Jacob Cruz, while he showed doubts over whether Kim Tae-gyun could play due to an injury.

The playoff series format began in 1989, and since then, the winners of the first game have all advanced to the second round, which is why both teams are expected to wage an all-out war to win the first game.