San Diego comes into the game with realistic hopes of making the postseason. The team’s leadoff hitter, Ha-seong Kim, comes out firing in the first inning. With two outs and a bad count, he takes advantage of a bad throw from pitcher Alex Cobb and rips a single to right field.
He’s done one thing with the bat, now it’s time to show what he can do with his feet. With the next batter, Tatis Jr. at bat, Kim wastes no time in running to second base and sliding in with a head-first slide. The deflected throw from the opposing catcher is a testament to Kim’s fast start and his ability to get on base.
The stolen base was Kim’s 30th of the season. It’s his first 30-steal season, and the first 30-steal season in Korean major league history. Kim continued to break Korean records this season after surpassing Shin-Soo Choo’s 2010 record, which was previously held by a Korean player, and now he has made history as the first player to reach the 30-steal plateau.
Only a handful of Asian players have accomplished the feat, including Ichiro Suzuki, Kazuo Matsui, and Norichika Aoki. Kim was thrown out at third base on the next batter’s grounder, but San Diego took the lead on Juan Soto’s leadoff double.
In his third at-bat two batters later in the fourth inning, Kim drew a walk to load the bases again, and when Tatis Jr. came to bat, he stole second base again, this time for his 31st stolen base of the season, a steal he was more confident in because he had already timed it once. In doing so, Kim is extending the limits of the Korean major leaguer.
San Diego, whose chances of making the postseason were severely diminished, also won 4-0 and revitalized with a three-game winning streak. In addition to Kim, Soto, Manny Machado, and Xander Bogaerts, San Diego’s top hitters were on fire. Starter Seth Lugo’s six innings of scoreless relief also helped.
San Diego’s chances of making the postseason, as compiled by statistician Fangraphs, jumped from 0.5 percent before the three-game winning streak to 1.8 percent today. It will be interesting to see if the miracle-minded San Diego can make it to fall baseball with Kim Ha-Sung. I’m Tae-woo Kim for Spotify.