One too many
Staying with Kim in 10th cost Brenly's D'backs dearly
Updated: Thursday November 01, 2001 8:21 AM
By Jamal Greene, Sports Illustrated
Kim blew a two-out, ninth-inning, two-run lead in Game 4 of the World Series, then allowed a two-out, two-strike, game-winning home run the next inning. Asked if he was disappointed about his effort, Kim replied through translator Daniel Kai of KBS Radio that, "Sometimes you throw good games and sometimes you don't."
Welcome to playoff answers, folks. It was a rude welcome that the Yanks gave the first Korean native ever to play in a World Series game. He replaced Diamondbacks stud Curt Schilling to start the eighth inning and showed the same electric, erratic stuff that made him Arizona's closer this season.
After replacing the injured Matt Mantei as the closer late in April, Kim was successful in 19 of 23 save opportunities, posting a 2.94 ERA and holding opponents to a .173 average, best among National League relievers.
Given those numbers, Yankee manager Joe Torre was not surprised when Arizona manager Bob Brenly brought him in. "The kid that they brought in, I've watched him pitch on TV and he's effective."
Torre's comment underscored the biggest advantage to bringing Kim into the game: None of the Yankees had faced him before (few could even pronounce his name). He throws his assortment of sliders and fastballs from a sidearm or submarine arm angle, a radical change from the over-the-top Schilling.
Tino Martinez, who drilled the game-tying homer in the ninth, went up the ramp into the Yankees clubhouse in the eighth inning to watch him face the hitters that hit before him. "I just saw fastball, slider," he said, "so I went up there looking for a fastball, something I could just try to drive out, just try to take a big hack at it and I got a hold of it."
Said shortstop Derek Jeter, whose home run won it for the Yankees in the 10th, "Anytime you have someone throwing sidearm or underarm, it's going to take a few pitches to pick up his release point. The second time I hit I was able to see a lot of pitches so I think that helped."
Indeed, Jeter saw nine pitches in his second at-bat against Kim. He worked the count full before drilling a slider into the right-field seats.
Said Kim: "I knew the ballpark was short to right field, but I didn't realize it was that short."
Kim's biggest problem throughout his career has been control. He walked 44 batters in 98 innings this season. In Game 4, he faced 13 batters and seven of them saw full counts. Of the 62 pitches he threw, 25 were balls.
Schilling pitched seven innings, threw only 88 pitches and remarkably threw the same number of balls. Only three batters even saw three-ball counts against him.
Just when the Yankee hitters were getting comfortable with Kim, Brenly decided to leave him in for a third inning of work in the 10th. That proved to be a recipe for disaster. Kim last exceeded two innings on July 1, and the 62 pitches he threw were the second most of his three-year big league career (he threw 66 in an outing in September, 2000).
Brenly defended the decision to leave him in. "B.K. throws a lot of pitches every day," Brenly said. "It wasn't really pushing him beyond what he can do."
Kim said he wasn't tired. It's no wonder. Known among teammates for being able to fall asleep anywhere at anytime, the 22-year-old is laid back, literally. Asked after the game what effect this will have on him, Kim replied, "My spirit isn't down."
Hopefully for him, he also speaks for his team -- and they don't need a