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LG Twins carrying scorching bat into next baseball playoff round

All Headlines 18:46 October 25, 2014

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Oct. 25 (Yonhap) -- The way the LG Twins swung their bats against the NC Dinos in the opening playoff round in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) over the past week, it was difficult to believe this was the same club that had, statistically, the league's worst offense in the regular season.

The Twins hammered the Dinos 11-3 on Saturday to clinch the best-of-five first round series in four games. In those four games, the Twins scored 31 runs on a whopping 55 hits. They could easily have scored more runs had they been more opportunistic with men in scoring position.

LG Twins carrying scorching bat into next baseball playoff round - 2

That these gaudy numbers came against the Dinos, who boasted the KBO's best pitching staff during the regular season, made the Twins' feat doubly impressive.

In the 128-game regular season, the Twins as a team batted .279, the lowest among nine clubs in a season that featured some huge offensive numbers.

The Twins also hit just 90 home runs as a team and were the only club that failed to reach the century mark in that category. To put their futility into perspective, two leading sluggers of the Nexen Heroes, Park Byung-ho and Kang Jung-ho, combined for 92 home runs. The Heroes belted 199 long balls as a team.

The Dinos, in just their second KBO season, posted the best team ERA of 4.29 and gave up the fewest hits. An old baseball adage has it that good pitching often beats good offense, yet in this year's opening round, it was the case of good offense pounding on not-so-good pitching.

The Twins wasted little time sending their message in this series. Jeong Seong-hoon, their leadoff man, hit the very first pitch of the series for a double, opening up the Twins' six-run first inning in Game 1.

Jeong was the spark plug all series, reaching safely in the first inning in three of the four games and scoring five runs.

Catcher Choi Gyeong-cheol, a career back-up who worked his way into the starting role this season, has been a revelation in this postseason. He was named the first round MVP after going a robust 8-for-15 with five RBIs from the No. 8 spot in the lineup. Brad Snyder, who ended the regular season on a 1-for-18 slide, was 7-for-15 with a home run in the sixth hole in the series.

The heart of the lineup was just as effective. Cleanup Lee Byung-kyu enjoyed a four-hit game on Saturday and drove in three runs, while No. 3 hitter Park Yong-taek contributed two hits.

Up next in the second round will be the Heroes, which had the KBO's most intimidating offense but had some pitching issues during the regular season.

Combine that with the Twins' suddenly hot offense, and there could be some major fireworks between the two clubs.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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