Will APBC survive against Japan?

After the first game of the 2023 Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC), the South Korean national baseball team has a problem. The team accomplished its goal of winning, but the lack of success in the top three batting spots remains a problem.

The Korean baseball team, led by head coach Ryu Jung-il, defeated Australia 3-2 in 10 extra innings in the first qualifying game of the tournament at the Tokyo Dome in Japan on April 16.

At the plate, No. 4 hitter Noh Si-hwan (Hanwha Eagles), who drove in three runs, including the winning run, and Kim Joo-won and Kim Hyung-joon (NC Dinos), who hit RBI singles, did their part. Kim Do-young (KIA Tigers) scored the game-winning run in the eighth inning after hitting a double with his team trailing 1-2.

On the other hand, Kim Hye-seong (Kiwoom Heroes) and Choi Ji-hoon (SSG Landers), who started as tablesetters (1-2 hitters), did not live up to expectations. Prior to this tournament, Kim Hye-sung had played 16 games at the international level, hitting .410 with 16 hits, seven RBIs and 12 runs scored. Choi Ji-hoon was equally impressive, batting .542 with 13 hits, one home run, six RBIs, and 10 runs scored in nine games.

However, Kim Hye-seong and Choi Ji-hoon were silent against APBC Australia, going 1-for-4 with a walk and 1-for-5 with three strikeouts, respectively. In 10 at-bats, they only managed to get on base once. With the table-setters not getting on base, the offense as a whole struggled to get anything going.

To make matters worse, Yoon Dong-hee (Lotte Giants), who was tasked with batting third, also struggled, 바카라사이트 going 0-for-4. She was nowhere near the destructive force she was at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, where she hit .435 with one home run and six RBIs.

South Korea will play the second game of the preliminary round against Japan at 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Japan will start left-hander Chihiro Sumida (Seibu Lions). Sumida has appeared in 22 games this year, going 9-10 with a 3.44 ERA. He throws a fastball that reaches up to 150 mph and has a variety of pitches, including a curve, slider, splitter, and changeup.

If the team sticks to its guns and values international experience, it’s unlikely to make any changes to the batting order. Furthermore, Kim Hye-seong has a .327 batting average against left-handed pitching this season, while Yoon Dong-hee has also been strong with a .315 batting average.

If we consider the matchup and hitting form against left-handed pitcher Sumida first, we can move Kim Do-young and Kim Joo-won forward. Kim, a right-handed hitter, has shown a high sensitivity to left-handed pitching this year, batting .387 against them. Kim, a switch-hitter, has also performed well against left-handed pitching, hitting .313.

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