Posted June. 10, 2009 09:49,
Two Korean pitchers in the Japanese leagues are competing for the title of "Mr. Zero," as in the one who has a zero earned run average.
Lim Chang-yong of the Yakult Swallows and Hisashi Takeda of the Nippon Ham Fighters are attracting fan attention as to who will keep his clean sheet longer.
Yakult is second in Japans Central League while Nippon leads the Pacific League.
Lim, 33, is writing a new chapter in Japanese baseball with a win and 15 saves in 23 and 1/3 innings in 23 games. He has given up just one earned run for an ERA of zero. He is second in saves to leader Katsuhiro Nagakawa, 18, of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.
Japanese fans have coined the terms Saja beomtoe or Imu(イム) time when Lim comes on the mound. "Saja beomtoe" means that Lims pitches blow away a runner on first base with no out along with three batters. Imu is the Japanese pronunciation of Lim.
Debuting in 2003, Takeda has given up just one earned run in 21 innings of 20 games this season. Though he has 11 saves and one win, he leads in the Pacific League. Though the right-handed pitcher went just 19-16 with 13 saves over his first six seasons, he has achieved stardom this season.
In pitching, Lim is a little ahead of Takeda. The Korean has faced five more batters than Takeda but has given up fewer hits and struck out more. Lim this season has given up 12 hits and five walks against 87 batters, while striking out 19.
Takeda has allowed 19 hits and three walks against 82 hitters, and recorded 13 strikeouts.
In All-Star voting in the relief pitcher category, Lim is No. 2 in the Central League and Takeda No. 1 in the Pacific League.