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Two Korean starting pitchers participate in MLB playoffs

Two Korean starting pitchers participate in MLB playoffs

Posted September. 29, 2020 07:45,   

Updated September. 29, 2020 07:45


The 2020 Major League Baseball (MLB) playoffs, which start during the Chuseok holiday in South Korea, are likely to attract more attention from Korean fans than ever.

Three Korean players including Toronto Blue Jay’s Ryu Hyun-jin, St. Louis Cardinals’’ Kim Kwang-hyun, and Tampa Bay Rays’ Choi Ji-man, which is the biggest number ever, will be playing in this year’s MLB playoffs. This is also the first time that two Korean pitchers are competing in the playoffs. Eyes are on whether Kim Kwang-hyun, who made his MLB debut this year, will become the second Korean player to start for his team in the playoffs following Ryu Hyun-jin.

MLB’s schedule for the 2020 postseason has been set as the regular season ended on Monday. The 2020 season was shortened to 60 games from 162 as the opening day was postponed to July due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But 16 teams, up from 10, will participate in this year’s postseason. The postseason will feature eight teams in each league (American League and National League) including the first-and second-place teams in each division and two wildcard teams in each league.

This year’s MLB playoffs start on the first day of Korea’s Chuseok holiday on Wednesday. Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays will play against Choi Ji-man of the Tampa Bay Rays (AL East champion) in a best-of-three Wild Card round kicking off on Wednesday. The Blue Jays, which rank third in AL East, clinched a spot in AL playoffs as a wild card. Experts say the Blue Jays have a chance at winning Friday’s game although the Rays are a strong team that boasts the highest winning percentage (40-20, 0.667) this season in AL.

“Tampa Bay’s starting players, such as Blake Snell and Tyler Johnson, have failed to show great performances this season. Their hitters have not been powerful either. If Ryu maintains his good run of form, he will surely pitch well against them,” said Song Jae-woo, a sports commentator at MBC Sport Plus.

Ryu could start in Game 2 since he threw 100 pitches against the Yankees on Friday. Tampa Bay’s Choi Ji-man is currently placed on the injured list with a left hamstring strain. He is preparing for the postseason, working on defense and batting. But it remains to be seen if Choi will meet Ryu in a postseason game as Choi is mainly playing against right-handed pitchers this season.

Hong-Gu Kang windup@donga.com