‘Challenge for batting king for the first time in 19 years since Ichiro’ Yoshida, batting average 0.318↑ with multi-hit…’5th place AL batting average’
Masataka Yoshida (30, Boston Red Sox), who is making a big success in his first season in the major leagues, is heating up the competition for the American League (AL) batting title.
On the 19th (Korean time), Yoshida played as the designated hitter in the away game against the Oakland Athletics in the 2023 major league held at the Oakland Coliseum in California, USA, and recorded 2 hits in 4 at-bats. Despite Yoshida’s performance, which was his 37th multi-hit of the season, Boston lost 0-3.
Yoshida showed off his long hitting power by decorating both안전놀이터 hits with doubles. Yoshida, who started as the lead batter in the top of the second inning, hit a 95.8 mph (approximately 154.2 km) fastball on the third pitch from Oakland starting pitcher Luis Medina and recorded a double that rolled to the left wall. However, Yoshida was unable to score as the subsequent batters failed to save the chance to secure second base.
With Boston trailing 0-3 in the top of the 4th inning with no runners out, Yoshida once again scored a double against Medina. On the second pitch, a fast ball of 94.7 miles per hour (about 152.4 km) flew toward the body, but Yoshida made a sharp swing and hit the ball out of the third base line. However, this time too, the follow-up hitters were silent and could not come home.
In the third at-bat in the 6th inning, Yoshida stepped back with a ground ball, but in the last at-bat in the 9th inning, he hit a sharp ball into the outfield, but was caught by the center fielder’s sliding catch and the game was canceled with 3 hits.
As a result of the game, the AL batting averages from 1st to 3rd were all recorded at 0.318. 1st place Bo Bisset (Toronto Blue Jays) is 0.3184 (128 hits in 402 at-bats), 2nd place Yandi Diaz (Tampa Bay Rays) is 0.3180 (97 hits in 305 at-bats), and 3rd place Yoshida is 0.3179 (103 hits in 324 at-bats). Yoshida, who narrowed the gap with the first place by only five mo, is recalling the record of ‘Legend’ Ichiro Suzuki, a senior Japanese major leaguer.
Ichiro won the AL batting champion twice, in his debut season in 2001 (batting average 0.350) and in 2004 (batting average 0.372) when he set a new record of 262 hits. If Yoshida ranks first in batting average this season, he will become the first Japanese major league batting champion in 19 years since 2004. If Yoshida wins the batting champion and the rookie of the year, he will become the first player to win the batting king and rookie of the year at the same time in 22 years since Ichiro in 2001.
Yoshida, who entered the big league stage after signing a five-year contract worth 90 million dollars ahead of this season, received stinging criticism as a bubble contract when his batting average dropped to 10% in April. However, after hitting the bottom, he managed to bounce back with a terrifying momentum, and in the last 10 games, he has a batting average of .
It will also be interesting to see if Yoshida, who has finished adapting to the big leagues and is picking up the pace in the second half, will be able to achieve the feat of “Japanese Major Leaguer Batting King” following his senior Ichiro from the first season of his debut.